DIY Garden Health Household sustainability Sustainable

Bentonite clay

The Power of Bentonite Clay… Unleashed on our Family Land

Imagine stumbling upon a hidden gem on your own land. That’s exactly what happened to us on land that’s been in our family for more than 100 years…. in Texas.

As we were digging a pond, we stumbled upon an ample supply of bentonite clay.  We always knew it was present throughout the land.  But seeing it in abundance firsthand was truly eye-opening… especially considering the red clay has been cherished for centuries.

The history of bentonite clay stretches back through the ages, with various civilizations recognizing its remarkable properties. Ancient cultures such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Native Americans harnessed its power for healing and purification purposes. This clay was considered a prized possession, revered for its ability to draw out impurities and promote overall well-being. Today, we feel incredibly fortunate to have this treasure right beneath our feet. It’s like a magic potion for our skin, hair, and overall well-being. So let’s dive deeper into its benefits, uses and I even include a unique recipe to revitalize your skin using bentonite clay.

 

Detoxification and Purification:

Let’s start with its detoxifying powers. Bentonite clay has an incredible ability to absorb toxins and impurities from our skin. When applied, it acts like a magnet, drawing out excess oil, dirt, and grime, leaving our skin feeling refreshed and revitalized. It’s like a mini spa treatment in the comfort of your own home!

 

Nourishing Skin Care:

Not only does bentonite clay detoxify, but it also nourishes our skin with essential minerals. Silica, calcium, magnesium, and potassium work together to give our skin a healthy and radiant glow. Think of it as nature’s own multivitamin for your skin!

Hair Rejuvenation:

But wait, there’s more! Bentonite clay isn’t just for our skin—it’s a hair superhero too. If you’ve been dealing with product buildup or an oily scalp, this clay can come to your rescue. It gently removes impurities, excess oil, and residue, bringing balance back to your scalp.

 

Enhance Your Garden:

Bentonite clay not only benefits us personally but also plays a role in helping the environment thrive. It promotes agriculture and minimizes the need for harmful chemicals. The clay’s water-retention properties help conserve water by soaking up excess moisture and preventing soil erosion. This means less water is wasted, and it helps conserve one of our most precious resources.

Additionally, it improves soil quality by enriching it with essential minerals and nutrients. Bentonite clay even detoxifies the soil, removing harmful substances, purifying it and creating a healthier ecosystem.

 

Here are some practical ways to incorporate bentonite clay into your routine:

Face Mask: ( I have a full recipe at the bottom of this blog)

Create a rejuvenating face mask by mixing bentonite clay with water or other natural ingredients like apple cider vinegar, rosewater, or aloe vera gel. Apply the mask to your face, leave it on for about 15-20 minutes, then rinse off with warm water. This helps to detoxify the skin, unclog pores, and absorb excess oil.

Hair Mask:

Revitalize your hair by making a nourishing hair mask with bentonite clay. Mix the clay with water, aloe vera gel, or your favorite hair conditioner to form a paste. Apply it to your hair, focusing on the roots and scalp, and let it sit for around 20-30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly to remove the mask and enjoy the benefits of increased volume, reduced oiliness, and improved scalp health.

Body Detox Bath:

Add bentonite clay to your bathwater to create a detoxifying bath. Mix a quarter to half a cup of clay into warm bathwater and soak for 20-30 minutes. The clay helps draw out toxins from your body, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Spot Treatment:

For pesky blemishes or insect bites, make a paste using bentonite clay and water. Apply it directly to the affected area, let it dry, then rinse off. The clay’s absorbent properties can help soothe irritation and reduce redness.

Oral Rinse:

Bentonite clay can also be used for oral care. Mix a small amount of clay with water to create a liquid paste, then swish it around in your mouth for a couple of minutes before spitting it out. This can help freshen your breath and promote oral health.

** Remember, it’s essential to use high-quality, pure bentonite clay and follow the instructions provided. If you have sensitive skin or any underlying skin conditions, perform a patch test before applying bentonite clay to larger areas. As always, consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or specific medical conditions.

 

DIY Bentonite Clay Face Mask:

To revitalize your skin, try this simple and effective face mask recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon bentonite clay
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)

Instructions:

  • In a small bowl, combine bentonite clay, apple cider vinegar, and raw honey.
  • Mix well until you have a smooth, creamy consistency.
  • Add a few drops of essential oil for a delightful aroma and added benefits.
  • Apply the mask to clean skin, avoiding the eye area.
  • Leave it on for about 10-15 minutes, or until it dries.
  • Gently rinse off with warm water, followed by a moisturizer.

 

We have an entire page of even more natural remedies. If you have natural remedies you use, please share them — it takes a community!

Household sustainability Sustainable

Solar shades

Before we built our off-grid shipping container homes, I must admit, my idea of off-grid was not what we have experienced.  I expected it to be so hard, to feel like we would have to make a lot of changes and sacrifices to our lifestyle.  And I was ready for the journey.  But it’s not at all what I expected.

Being off-grid is really like being your own EPA because you have to manage your own resources.  Our bread and butter is the sun and the rain; Solar has been running pretty much everything for us, from the refrigerator to the lights.  And we don’t have a big power system; you can really call us power poor, so we definitely monitor our power usage.  This also means temperature control is a priority.  And since we haven’t installed an AC unit yet, we utilize the sun to heat up our container. 

One of the things that has made a huge difference is our window coverings.  We had temporary paper blinds up for about 2 years, and they were great for privacy but didn’t do enough for controlling the temperature.

We had all sorts of consequences from hot and cold temperatures — motors freezing, leaks, things melting including my favorite candle and the list goes on.  So, we replaced our temporary paper blinds with solar-powered, motorized shades from Somfy and Eclipse Luxury Shades and I couldn’t be more grateful because the energy savings and convenience were immediate and gave us so much more control.  We measured the temperature change, and the shades made the containers 8 degrees cooler… huuuuuge difference.

So let me share with you some of the reasons we chose these specific shades.

When we first discovered Somfy and Eclipse Luxury Shades, I was immediately impressed with their eco-friendly options.  They even had shades made from recycled water bottles, and they were gorgeous.  I didn’t think we would really be able to use the motorized option because again, being off-grid, we are counting our energy.  But these motorized shades don’t suck up our energy.  In fact, we don’t have to think about charging the batteries for at least two years. And even that process is convenient… you just plug them in.

And for the shades that are facing the south, they don’t need charging at all because they are solar-powered, perfect for being off-grid. 

So our off-grid home feels like a smart Jetsons home because with a touch of a button, the shades go up at down at our request.  And they’re so quiet.  We have the shades programmed in sections… so we can press a button to control all of the shades at once or just a few at a time.  We wake up in the mornings, press a button and the shades on one side of the container goes up to let the sun in to start heating things up.  We press another button, and the shades in the bedroom open up without us having to get out of bed.  It’s priceless.

One of the features we haven’t used is with Wi-Fi; you can control the shades from anywhere using their app.  You can even talk to the shades through Alexa and Google Assistant. 

I could go on and on about this experience, which is why I had to share it. 

Experiencing this off-grid lifestyle has been a win-win… we are getting closer to zero waste every day, we are not affected as much by inflation, we are learning so much and having fun doing it and we are building a legacy for generations to come.

So join us on our journey!

View the entire journey in more detail here.

Website: http://GreenDesert.org

Follow us on social: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheGreenDesert/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/TheGreenDesert

Twitter: http://Twitter.com/TheGreenDesert

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/GreenDesert/

Check out other shade and awning options here:

Somfy Shades & Blinds page

Connect with a Somfy Dealer

https://www.eclipseluxuryshades.com/

Garden Health Household Sustainable

Pomegranate

How pomegranates affect your health

Have you ever had the privilege of biting into a cluster of pomegranate seeds? The reward you get from the juice is priceless.  Needless to say, I love pomegranate season! The satisfying flavor of the fruit speaks for itself.  Along with the juice comes tons of health benefits.

Antioxidants

Pomegranates are full of antioxidants… punicalagins, anthocyanins, and hydrolysable tannins… all antioxidants known to help protect your cells from free radical damage!

Heart

Polyphenolic compounds found in the fruit have been well-known for helping your heart. These compounds in pomegranates may be able to help the inflammation in the arteries and reduce oxidative stress. This can also help lower your blood pressure and help fight plaque build-up in your arteries as well (atherosclerosis).

Tip: Pomegranate juice is an easy way to get the benefits into your system and can also help with chest pain.

Prostate

Studies have shown that drinking pomegranate juice can slow down the rate at which a tumor in your prostate grows. For people who have prostate cancer pomegranates also help promote cells from dying.

Urinary Health

Nobody wants kidney stones and pomegranates can help with that! It can hinder the mechanism that forms kidney stones.

Brain Health

Pomegranates have ellagitannins which are known to reduce inflammation in the body. These compounds can help your brain actually get better! This may be able to help protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s by helping brain cells survive and reducing oxidative stress.

Digestive Health

Pomegranates are rich in fiber and can increase good bacteria in your gut. The beneficial gut bacteria, bifidobacterium and lactobacillus, are supposed to have pre-biotic effects helping prevent many digestive health issues.

Endurance

If you love working out or want to start, pomegranates may be able to replace that protein powder because it may improve your endurance for your workout.

It’s newer research but studies show because pomegranates provide potassium, which is an essential electrolyte for exercise. And remember those antioxidants and polyphenols that I mentioned earlier? Those nutrients are helpful for running and performance.

Try it out for yourself and let us know how it makes a difference in your routine!

We have an entire page of natural remedies. If you have natural remedies you choose, please share them — it takes a community!

Garden Health Household Sustainable

Pomegranate

How pomegranates affect your health

 

Have you ever had the privilege of biting into a cluster of pomegranate seeds? The reward you get from the juice is priceless.  Needless to say, I love pomegranate season! The satisfying flavor of the fruit speaks for itself.  Along with the juice comes tons of health benefits.

 

Antioxidants

Pomegranates are full of antioxidants… punicalagins, anthocyanins, and hydrolysable tannins… all antioxidants known to help protect your cells from free radical damage!

 

Heart

Polyphenolic compounds found in the fruit have been well-known for helping your heart. These compounds in pomegranates may be able to help the inflammation in the arteries and reduce oxidative stress. This can also help lower your blood pressure and help fight plaque build-up in your arteries as well (atherosclerosis).

 

Tip: Pomegranate juice is an easy way to get the benefits into your system and can also help with chest pain.

 

Prostate

Studies have shown that drinking pomegranate juice can slow down the rate at which a tumor in your prostate grows. For people who have prostate cancer pomegranates also help promote cells from dying.

 

Urinary Health

Nobody wants kidney stones and pomegranates can help with that! It can hinder the mechanism that forms kidney stones.

 

Brain Health

Pomegranates have ellagitannins which are known to reduce inflammation in the body. These compounds can help your brain actually get better! This may be able to help protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s by helping brain cells survive and reducing oxidative stress.

 

 

Digestive Health

Pomegranates are rich in fiber and can increase good bacteria in your gut. The beneficial gut bacteria, bifidobacterium and lactobacillus, are supposed to have pre-biotic effects helping prevent many digestive health issues.

 

Endurance

If you love working out or want to start, pomegranates may be able to replace that protein powder because it may improve your endurance for your workout.

It’s newer research but studies show because pomegranates provide potassium, which is an essential electrolyte for exercise. And remember those antioxidants and polyphenols that I mentioned earlier? Those nutrients are helpful for running and performance.

Try it out for yourself and let us know how it makes a difference in your routine!

 

Garden Health Household sustainability Sustainable

Avocado

AVOCADOS BENEFITS

 

It’s no secret how amazing avocados are on almost everything including burritos, toast, salsas and of course guacamole.  But the benefits go much further than the flavor; avocados are filled with antioxidants, magnesium, potassium, vitamins C, E, K and B6, among other nutrients.

 

They’re known for high levels of healthy fat and since they literally have no cholesterol and low sodium (1 avocado has 11mg), I indulge. 

Below are some specific benefits that the avocado brings that may cause you to indulge too.

 

 

Anti-Inflammatory & Heart Health

Because avocados have a ton of niacin it helps with inflammation. When eating it, it can fight inflammation in the body and help protect your arteries.  That in turn helps your heart stay healthy, lowering your cardiovascular inflammation.

In fact, new research from Harvard University shows eating 2 servings of avocados per week may boost your heart health and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

 

Skin Health

The beta carotene protein and other nutrients found in avocado oil are great for your skin.

Rub the oil on your skin for eczema and to help treat psoriasis.  It’s great for moisturizing your skin so it’s also beneficial for conditions like dermatitis since it helps with the itchiness associated with these inflammations.

Also try it on sunburns for faster healing!

Try this: Take the inside of an avocado peel and massage it on your face. Leave the oil on your face for about 15 minutes, rinse it off and let me know how great your skin feels.

 

Healthy Brain Function

Vitamin E is another main nutrient in avocados, and lots of research shows how beneficial vitamin E is for slowing down conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.  It’s supposed to keep your brain from declining in thinking and memory skills. In fact, according to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, when taken with Vitamin C, it’s been shown to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 20%.

Fun Fact: Half of an avocado contains about 2 mg of vitamin E.  The recommended daily allowance is 15 mg per day.

 

Strong Bones

Vitamin K is the essential nutrient in strengthening our bones, which yes, is found in avocados. Vitamin K is also an important nutrient for blood clotting.

 

Digestion

Because avocados are high in fiber and insoluble fiber it helps move everything out of your body keeping you from getting constipated.

 

Vision

Eye doctors rave about the nutrients in avocados because they can save your eyes from damage that leads to poor vision.  Specifically, the high amounts of lutein found in avocados protects your eyes from cataracts, macular degeneration and other age-related eye issues.

Fun Fact: Avocados have more lutein than your average lutein supplement.

 

We have an entire page of natural remedies. If you have any avocado recipes or any natural remedies you use, I’d love to try them, so please share — it takes a community!

 

 



 

DIY Garden Health Household sustainability Sustainable

Start a garden

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN STARTING AN URBAN GARDEN

 

It’s planting season in Phoenix!  Do you know what to plant?  Where to plant?  How to plant?

There are so many questions when it comes to starting your urban garden – or as I like to call it – your medicine cabinet and grocery store.  And you will read all sorts of articles telling you dozens of things you need to do to be successful.  But it really doesn’t have to be that hard or expensive… especially if you know the basics.

So we came up with our top things you need to know when starting your urban garden:

  1. RESEARCH – This includes looking at a planting calendar to know what to plant in your area. And once you figure out what grows when, choose things you really will use.  Research images of what the plant will look like in your garden, how much space the plant needs, best temperatures for germination, etc.  Seed packets will give you the basics.  Don’t limit your research only to online searches.  Social media gardening groups are awesome and local nurseries can be extremely helpful.
  2. START SMALL – Doing too much gets discouraging and causes many of us to quit. Gardening doesn’t have to be hard.  4×4 is a perfect starting point for a garden and so easy to build a garden bed yourself.  Home improvement stores will cut your wood to your specified size and you can use blocks to simply place the wood slabs inside.  It’s a simple process, especially if you want to avoid cutting and drilling, etc.
  3. PREPARE YOUR BED – Grass and weeds can be one of your biggest enemies. We put cardboard at the bottom of our beds to help stop the grass.  We also have a lot of gophers in the area so we also put chicken wire at the bottom.  Fill your bed with soil… add compost…. Soil and water are the basics that will help your garden thrive or die.
  4. SAVE MONEY ON SEEDS—1st garden will be most expensive but should be the only time you have to spend money buying all of your seeds because you can save them each season.

There are lots of seed banks at libraries and other local places that may offer free seeds. 

All seeds are NOT created equal, so look for GMO Free, heirloom, open-pollinated seeds so that you can continue to save the seeds each season. 

  1. GROW WHAT YOU’LL USE – Whether it’s food or medicine, if you’re watering it, you want to use it. If you won’t eat brussel sprouts, don’t plant brussel sprouts.  Can’t sleep?  Plant chamomile for tea.  Got a cut?  Plant aloe. You’d be surprised at how many natural remedies you’ll find in your garden (ADD NATURAL REMEDIES  LINK)
  2. CREATE MICROCLIMATES AND KEEP IT ORGANIC – Planting all of the same families in the same bed means they’re all competing for the same nutrients and attracting all of the same bugs. So mix things up.  That will also create a cooler environment and help keep your garden naturally organic , especially if you consider companion planting.  
  3. PUT WATER ON A TIMER—one of biggest things to kill gardens is water so you don’t want to have to constantly think about if you’re over or under watering. Set a timer for your water —- regardless of the type of sprinkling system you choose.

OLLAS are another option for watering… my favorite because it takes guesswork out of watering. 

  1. FEED YOUR GARDEN—we fertilize about every 2 weeks with homemade worm tea, compost mix, etc. Again, don’t freak out if you’re not composting, you can buy fertilizers when you’re first starting – ONE THING AT A TIME.  Again garden groups are great for where to buy what, where to find sales, tricks of the trade, etc.
  2. BE PATIENT, STAY POSTIVE AND ENJOY THE RIDE—Everything will NOT grow and some things will look great one day and be falling over the next. It’s about trial and error, learning your soil, your garden.  Trust me, the rewards make it all worth it.  The flavor of the food is richer, you know exactly what you’re getting, you’re saving money, lowering your carbon footprint, growing your own meds… the benefits just keep coming.
  3. TREAT YOUR GARDEN LIKE YOUR FAMILY – If you’re thirsty, you need water. So do your plants.

If you’re cold, you may need a blanket.  If you’re hot, you may want shade. Same with your plants. I talk to my plants, sing to them… not sure if that makes them happy.  The peace of being in the garden in priceless, so spend time in nature, learn your garden (family) and mother nature will do the rest.

 

We have all sorts of DIY videos helping you throughout your journey.   Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions because we are all in this together.  It’s a lifestyle that keeps on giving.