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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Automatic Dish Detergent Stopped Working?

Have you noticed a difference in how your automatic dish detergent performs lately? Cloudy dishes? Food not cleaned off? Well you are not alone! In July of 2010, automatic dish soaps went phosphate-free due to new laws banning phosphates in 16 states. People are up in arms about it! Phosphates were responsible for keeping a lot of the leading dish soaps working so well, but they are also responsible for polluting our lakes and streams and having adverse effects on fish.

I did not notice the difference in the dish detergents myself, because around that time I was getting involved with Shaklee products and had already made the switch to Shaklee's Get Clean Dish Washer Automatic Powder Concentrate. If you are concerned about phosphates and other harsh chemicals that can harm you, your family or the environment, you will be happy to know that none of Shaklee's product do that. When I started my Shaklee business over the summer, I noticed right away that the automatic dish detergent was a big seller. I had so many people asking me about Shaklee's auto dish soap because they were so unhappy with their current soap's performance, esp. where I live where we have hard water. I didn't realize at the time that the change for them was probably because phosphates were recently banned. Leading automatic dishwasher detergent manufactures are now looking to the chemical industry for help because so many of their customers are very unhappy with the change. That is how I actually found out about this - from my chemist husband who showed me a recent article in Chemical and Engineering News on the topic.

So why do I love Shaklee's automatic powder concentrate so much? Well, first and foremost - it works really well! Not only for me, but also for the many Shaklee customers I have that use it and love it. You really don't have to pre-rinse your dishes (unless the food is really baked on). I have always been in the habit of pre-rinsing however, so I am slowly getting out of the habit and realizing that I really don't have to do it! Another reason to love this product is because it will save you money!!! Who doesn't love that? Esp. with the economy being as hard as it is right now. Shaklee's automatic dish wash cost 19.8 cents per load, where Cascade Complete costs 28.4 cents per load. (You can see a full cost comparison of many of Shaklee's Get Clean products to other leading brands here.) As I said in my first post about how I de-toxed my home by going from 20+ cleaners to only THREE Get Clean cleaners seen here, Shaklee's household cleaners are very concentrated, so you use so little to do so much. That is true for the automatic dish detergent too. One 2 lb. bag of Shaklee's product is equal to more than 2 1/2 boxes of Cascade powder detergent! It will clean 48 loads of dishes with just 2 tsp. (one scoop) in each dispenser cup! It is safe for septic systems and does not have any chlorine or fragrance, which can pollute the air that you breathe. It is natural, concentrated, uses biodegradable surfactants, does NOT have phosphates (never did!) and it does not have chlorine. It's good for you, your entire family and also the environment! Shaklee is the first company in the world to be certified Climate Neutral™ (totally offsetting our carbon emissions resulting in a net zero impact on the environment). Pretty awesome, huh?

The automatic dish detergent comes in this resealable and biodegradable pouch, which also makes it great for the environment. Each pouch uses 80% less packaging then a hard plastic container.

And if you wanted to, you could also get this nice container to keep your detergent in.

You could even keep it in a mason jar or something like that that you currently have or just keep it right in the pouch.

Like I mentioned above, the area where I live has very hard water. Although we do have a softener, one thing that I like to add to my dish washer, once or twice a month, is a little Basic H2 Concentrate to the rinse aid compartment. This is in place of Jet Dry, but without any harsh chemicals. Basic H2 is one of the three cleaners that I use to clean my entire house and has so many uses. It really helps to keep my glasses clean and clear. I love that!

And for all of you out there who wash your dishes by hand, here is another product that I also love for dishes - Hand Dish Wash Liquid Concentrate. Talk about highly concentrated! This soap will last you a VERY long time! Just a couple DROPS in your sink is all you need. I like to put a drop on my sponge too. And this product carries the same clean credentials that I love about Shaklee: nontoxic, natural, hypoallergenic (so gentle on your hands that you will not need to wear gloves to wash dishes with this stuff!), biodegradable surfactants and NO phosphates! :) Oh, and it is a degreaser, so when you have a greasy pan, just put a drop or two with some water in it to let it soak. When you are ready to wash it, the grease will just slip away. Because of this, it's good for your pipes (as is the Basic H2). You won't ever need to use chemicals to declog your sink again. Regular uses of some of these products will do the work for you. Love that!!

If you are interested in trying Shaklee's automatic dish detergent and some of the other Get Clean products that I have talked about in my blog for free for a week, you can do that if you live in the West Lafayette, Indiana area, Milwaukee, Wisconsin area, or Minneapolis, Minnesota area. Just send me a note and let me know that you are interested in the Bucket Brigade!

I think that covers everything I wanted to say about dish soap! I was planning on posting about laundry products this week since I had a few requests, but will do that next week. I wanted to share this info since I just saw the article about it this week. If you have any experiences to share about dish detergents and the new formulas companies have come up with, I would love to hear!

Thanks for reading and have a healthy week! Oh, and don't forget about the awesome Cinch inch loss promotion that ends tomorrow! New Shaklee members can get a Cinch Sampler Pack (over a $100 value) for Free!!!! Ask me about the details if you are interested. Cinch is a wonderful product line of inch loss products to help you lose the fat and keep the muscle. Good stuff!



Monday, January 24, 2011

Vitamin C - not just for the common cold!

For the past several weeks, I have been seeing post after post on my facebook account, of friends near and far who are being taken down by the stomach flu. My house was not immune to this either! I had the nasty bug over New Years and let me tell you I was NOT happy about it! You know the signs - it starts with a little stomach ache that quickly moves to serious nausea. I will spare you the details, but I was pretty sick. My husband watched me go down hill fast as he helped with the kids and let me rest. And then several hours later while I was enjoying some rest and thinking how great it was that I had a husband to take care of me and our 2 boys, he came to me and said he wasn't feeling well at all. Ugh. So it was time for me to be recovered and take over with the kids so he could go through the horrible events that I had just experienced. The only difference was - he didn't! He was spared! How could this be, I thought? Why did I get so sick with the vomiting and diarrhea and he got off so easy with some nausea and a few hours of mild diarrhea? The next day we talked about it and he told me his secret.....

Vitamin C!!!!!

Really??? Vitamin C????! It was that simple? Well, the research isn't exactly conclusive on this topic, but there is evidence that vitamin C can actually be taken for several different things and have therapeutic effects. My husband is a research scientist, so he was aware of this and after he saw me go down with the flu, he took immediate action at the first sign of his symptoms. He took 3 or 4 of the chewable C that we give to our toddler here - chewable vitamin C

Each of these has 100 mg of C in them. He had also taken his usual sustained release C in the morning with 500 mg before his symptoms showed up - seen here sustained release C and he repeated this the following day. One Shaklee chewable vitamin C is equal to eating 1.5 organic oranges! good stuff!

Like I said, the research on this isn't conclusive but taking a higher dose of C sure did seem to work for my husband! And our toddler didn't get really sick either. Just a little bit of diarrhea. During flu season, we give him a chewable C 2-3 times a day plus he takes his chewable multivitamin once a day here Incredivites As a side note, our toddler has never had an ear infection and very rarely gets sick. We attribute a lot of that to the Shaklee supplements that he takes.

My original intention for this post was to help people with symptoms of the stomach flu to stop it in its tracks. But after I started researching Vitamin C a bit more, I was surprised at all of the additional benefits it could have!

Vitamin C is an immune booster, a vital antioxidant. It fights free radical damage and promotes strong bones, healthy gums and teeth, cartilage, fights infection, is anti-stress, builds red blood cells, prevents radiation damage, protects against allergic responses, helpful with arthritic symptoms, boosts good cholesterol, and the list goes on. I was surprised to learn that smokers rapidly use up vit. C with each cigarette they smoke! Vit. C is water soluable so we need to continually replenish our supply daily. Animals can actually produce their own Vit. C but humans cannot. Most people just don't have enough of it in their diet. It is recommended that adults get 500 mg a day of vitamin C, and no more then 2000 mg per day! Vitamin C can help with
immune system deficiencies, eye disease, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, helping us to live longer and even with our skin as we age. Vitamin C is even being used to treat cancer and diabetes!

Vitamin C is found in a lot of the fruit and veggies that we eat, but the problem is that most people just aren't eating enough. I know I am guilty of that, esp. in the winter months in the midwest when it's just not as easy to get. The farmers markets are all closed in the winter. The produce prices increase and the quality seems to decrease in the winter. The result? More sickness.

Here are some natural sources of Vitamin C:

  • Cantaloupe, 1 cup (8 ounces): 59mg
  • Orange juice, 1 cup: 97mg
  • Broccoli, cooked, 1 cup: 74mg
  • Red cabbage, 1/2 cup: 40mg
  • Green pepper, 1/2 cup, 60mg
  • Red pepper, 1/2 cup, 95mg
  • Kiwi, 1 medium: 70mg
  • Tomato juice, 1 cup: 45mg.
Frozen produce is another good option for getting some vitamins. Frozen produce is picked and frozen at the optimal time in order to contain the most vitamins and nutrients. And by freezing the produce, bacteria and pesticides are killed in the process. I still prefer fresh myself, but we have started buying more frozen lately and it isn't that bad.

If you are not getting enough C in your diet, I do think it is a good idea to think about a good supplement. Last week, I talked about a few of Shaklee's wonderful natural cleaners. I didn't mention though, that they also make a wonderful line of food supplements. They are all sourced from nature and have gone through the ringer with scientific testing, looking at the purity of the product. Dr. Shaklee created one of the first multi-vitamins back in 1915 in order to "fill in the gaps" in our nutrition. It was called Vitalized Minerals but today is Shaklee's Vita Lea. This is the most complete multi vitamin on the market and you can get it with or without iron. Shaklee also makes it for people who are over 50 or for children. Dr. Shaklee was very much ahead of his time as he knew that the best source of vitamins and minerals came from natural sources. He used to say that when you go to the grocery store, only shop around the perimeter, where all of the fruits, veggies and natural foods usually are. I think that is more true today then ever as we live in a fast food society and so many of our foods are processed, have additives, dyes, added sugars, etc. My thought is that if God meant it to be that way, then it would be.

So I hope you learned a little more about the many benefits of Vitamin C. I know I did! And I hope you will remember this post at the first sign of the flu, so you can beat it before it beats you!

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a healthy week!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Crayon and Ink stains - Be Gone!

My goal is to put a blog post up once a week. So just think of this post as a little bonus. :) Thanks to my 2 year old and my husband, I have something to share today.

My 2 year old son really loves to draw us pictures. Unfortunately, he decided to really expand on his creativity the other day and colored all over our refrigerator and on the wall next to it with crayons! You can imagine how shocked I was to see this. What was the first thing I did? I took a picture! lol. And then I got to work with the Basic H2 degreaser mix (1 1/2 tsp. of Basic H2 to 16 oz of water) seen here along with my Shaklee microfiber sponge seen here. It worked like magic for both the wall and the fridge. Here are the before pictures from my little artist:

it's a little hard to see on the white refrigerator.

And here are the after pictures when I used the Basic H2 degreaser with the microfiber sponge:

So nice! It came right off. I originally tried using a paper towel and that didn't really work well at all. When I switched to the microfiber sponge, it came off easily.

Here are the before pics of the wall. Again, it is a little hard to see since the wall is white.

And here is the after picture of the wall. Again, I used the Basic H2 degreaser with the microfiber sponge. Awesome!

So after I dealt with that, my husband came home and told me that he put his work shirt in the laundry because he got red ink on it! (an occupational hazard of being a professor I suppose:). He wasn't concerned about it though because he knew that I would "work my Shaklee magic" and I did. I actually didn't get around to doing anything with it for over a day because I had forgotten about it. When I remembered, I rubbed a little of the Basic H2 concentrate on the stain and then forgot about it again until I was ready to do laundry, which was the next day. Here are the before pictures:

The picture is not that great. It was hard for me to get a good one that really showed the stain, but it is in the middle of the picture and was a few inches long. Here's another before:
And here is the after. No more stain. I took the before pictures in the laundry room but did the after in our bedroom where there is more light. I guess that is why the color looks different. I need to get better at taking my before and after pictures but I am hoping you get the idea from this that it really worked!:) After I had put the Basic H on the stain, I had washed it with our regular Shaklee liquid laundry detergent seen here. Shaklee also makes a powder detergent, which we also use and love.
So there you have it! I actually enjoy when I have tough stains to work through. It's a good challenge, not that I want my 2 year old coloring on all of the furniture and walls! But when the next time occurs (and I am sure it will!) I know I can get it out easily!

Thanks for reading! Look for my next blog post that I am working on for next week on the many uses of Vitamin C! (it's not just for the common cold:) Have a great and healthy weekend!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow Ice Cream!

 I was inspired to re-post this from last February since we have a lot of fresh snow on the ground again. I am planning on making this with my kids later today:) Enjoy!

If you live in the midwest, then you have seen some serious snow lately, haven't you? We have had school closings, university closings and a few very nice days of just staying in with the family this week. Sometimes it is just nice when you are forced to stay home and not be busy.

One of the fun things that I did with my husband and toddler to celebrate the snow was to make snow ice cream. I had never heard of this before but several of my facebook friends were talking about it. It was a fun family activity that tasted very good! Here is the recipe:

1 large bowl of fresh, clean snow
1 cup of milk
1 tsp. of vanilla
1/2 cup of white sugar
sprinkles (optional)

mix the snow, vanilla and sugar
add the milk until you get the desired consistency
add the sprinkles

put into bowls and eat immediately!

My toddler loved this treat. We actually thought 1/2 cup of sugar was a little too much so feel free to experiment with the amount you use.

Enjoy! :)


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How I de-toxed my house by going from 20+ cleaners to only THREE!

I am pretty excited to be starting my healthy living blog - finally!!! I have been thinking about doing this for some time now, but like any true procrastinator, I kept putting it off. I think that comes from the perfectionist in me. If I don't think I can do it right, then I put it off until it I just do it! So here it is. I thought the first post I would share would be how I de-toxed my home - literally! BTW - I am not a fancy blogger as you can tell. So you'll have to forgive my basic looking posts. I plan on that improving with time. But the content here is definitely worth the read I read on!!! :)

Here is a picture of the many many toxic cleaners that my husband and I removed from our home.

I couldn't believe how many we actually had! And they are not even all in this picture! Are you like me and just keep buying products hoping you will find "the one" that actually does what you want it to while not killing you in the process? Over the years we just kept buying and buying. and this is what we ended up with! ack!! I finally said "enough!" after my husband and I had our first child over 2 years ago. I started realizing that the cleaning products I had probably weren't the best for me or the baby when I was pregnant. It's amazing how we don't think about things like this when it's just us but once you add a little being that you are completely responsible for to the mix, things really change, don't they? Speaking of little beings, I must digress and share with you about our second one we had 5 months ago now. He was quite the surprise as he showed up 6 weeks early! The docs in the NICU told us that we were in for a year or more of respiratory illness with him since he had a lot of breathing issues early on, including pneumonia. I am so happy to say that he has never really been sick since leaving the hospital. I attribute that to the non-toxic, non-fumy cleaners that we now use. (read on!)

So after doing a ton of research, I actually was able to get rid of everything (and more!) in the picture above and replace them with only three cleaners. Yes, just THREE!! Here is my after picture on the three products I use to clean MY ENTIRE HOUSE!!!

That's right - three simple, but more importantly SAFE and EFFECTIVE (not to mention very economical) products! Safe for my entire family. Basic H2, Basic G and Scour Off - all from Shaklee's Get Clean line of products.

So if you aren't familiar, Shaklee is this truly awesome company that has been around for over 50 years now. They are the #1 natural nutrition company in the US. That means Shaklee sells more natural nutrition products then any other company does. And the integrity and science behind this company is beyond anything I have ever seen. My dear hubby is a research scientist with pharmaceuticals and once he started looking into the science behind Shaklee's products, I couldn't get him to stop talking about it! So here is the low down on the three products we have switched to. First up, my all time favorite cleaner, Basic H2. I call it a cleaner but it is that and so much more. And Basic H2 just celebrated its 50th birthday! Talk about being ahead of its time. It is natural, organic, and works in so many ways. One of my favorite things about Basic H2 however, is the fact that it is completely safe to use around and even with my kids. My 2 year old LOVES to help me clean and I have no problem letting him with Basic H2. Here he is after we cleaned the fireplace door together using the Basic H2 window cleaner. Awesome!

I really think that everyone should have a bottle of Basic H2 in their house. It has over 1000 uses! One bottle of basic H2 is equal to over 5800 bottles of Windex!!! How can that be you may be asking? Well, the break down of how to use the Basic H2 is here:

windows/glass/mirrors: mix 1-2 DROPS of Basic H2 to 16 oz. of water

all purpose cleaner: mix 1/4 tsp. of Basic H2 to 16 oz. of water

degreaser: mix 1 1/2 tsp. of Basic H2 to 16 oz. of water

I use Shaklee's spray bottles . They work really well and the instructions are printed right on them so you don't have to remember it each time you mix it up. It's really easy and since you are using the same bottles, you save on plastic bottles going into the landfills. Pretty cool. One bottle of Basic H2 will last you FORever! Ok, forever is a very long time. But it really will last you a VERY LONG TIME! And the best thing is that this cleaner works on so many things. You can dust with it (it repels dust so you don't have to dust as often - awesome!), you can clean your windows, glass and mirrors with it (no streaks! It works like magic, esp. when you pair it with a microfiber cloth like the ones from Shaklee), you can clean all of your appliances with it, counter tops, high chair tray, cars, windshields (works great in our midwest weather!), you can clean your cement and power wash your house with it, you can use it for gardening to give you a higher yield on veggies (because it makes water wetter, which helps with the soil quality), you can use it to remove gum, crayon and ink stains, and the list goes on and on. You really have to try it for yourself to really see what I mean. And because it is so concentrated and the bottle lasts for so long, it is CHEAPER then anything else on the market! So great. Safe, economical, good for the environment, has a 1000! THAT is why it is my very favorite Shaklee product. :) Here are a few more before and after pics that I took using the Basic H2:

my dirty oven door before! ick! look at all of those grease stains!

and after! wow! look at that shine! Now I can actually check in to see how my food is doing without having to open the door to look and let the heat out! I also used a little bit of the Scour Off here, which I will talk about next.

Here's another picture. My 2 year old decided it would be fun to color with crayon on my white cutting board. Here's the before:

and the after. I used a little straight Basic H2 concentrate with my microfiber sponge.

Since this happened, I have actually seen before and after pictures from other people showing how their kids colored with pen on their sofas! They just used the degreaser bottle and let it soak and then rubbed it out with their sponge. That works too!

For more info on Basic H2, click here .

So as much as I could go on and on some more about Basic H2, I will move onto another fave of mine and that is Scour Off! It used to be called At Ease if you are familiar with Shaklee back in the day:)

One of the great things about Scour off (and there are many!) is that one little canister will last you 1-2 YEARS! Awesome! A little really does go a long way here too. And it is made out of cherry pits so it smells REALLY good! I use Scour Off a lot to clean my glass top stove. I don't know about you, but I do like my glass top stove until I actually cook on it and something boils over! It burns right on. Water is actually the worst at burning on, isn't it? But it is no match to Scour Off. I just get my mircofiber sponge wet, put a little Scour Off on it and rub the mess away. Here are some before and after pics of a nasty encounter I had with some cranberry sauce a few months ago:

Before: (obviously!!!)
and after using Scour Off:
YES! I have to admit that I was a little nervous about that one. I did have to use a little more oomph then usual but it did clean it well. After, I just sprayed a little all purpose basic h2 on it to finish the job. whew!

Basically, Scour off can be used in place of any scouring cleaner that you have used before. The difference is that it is completely safe for everyone! I use it to remove hard water deposits in the sink, to clean our "glass" shower door (that was quite a job but it cleaned it SO well. I was impressed!), and to clean the inside of my oven (no more harsh toxic oven cleaners here!) etc. I have even used it to get black marks off of my kitchen floor. Here are some before and after pics of that:
And after using Scour Off and my microfiber sponge. So nice!

For more info on Scour off, click here

So my last cleaner to close the trio I use on my entire house is....

Basic G! click here

One quart of Basic G cleans up to 64 gallons!!! Wow! That's because it is super concentrated like the Basic H2, so you just mix it the same way you do the all purpose Basic H.

1/4 tsp of Basic G to 16 oz. water in a spray bottle.

Basic G is a germicide. It will kill any and all bacteria, virus, germs that you can think of. We use it in the toilet, on the garbage can, diaper pails, on the counter after we have handled raw meat, etc. People with cats also use it around the litter box. The cats don't sense it and are not bothered that their area has been de-germed:)

Basic H and Basic G also come in a handy wipe form for easy clean ups, esp. when you are on vacation or on the go.

So there you have it! That is how I went from 20 + toxic cleaners to only THREE non-toxic, safe, natural, effective and cost saving cleaners!!!! The cabinet under my kitchen sink has gained so much room since I did that and my family is sooooooo much healthier and happier because of it!! And by using Shaklee's Get Clean products in their Get Clean Starter Kit, you will save over $3400 in cleaning supplies! Good stuff all around! :)

I hope you enjoyed my first blog post as much as I enjoyed writing it and I hope you learned something from it! Thanks for reading! :)


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