Wednesday, April 25, 2012

More Than Clean

Want to go green with your cleaning routine but worried that you won't get all the pesky germs? Don't be! Old fashioned methods of cleaning are actually more effective at keeping a germ free home because they work to create a positive environment, not just kill the negative germs.

Beneficial bacteria. We used to be surrounded by the stuff,  in our dirt, our food, our homes, our digestive systems. They kept our food, soil and bodies healthy, providing both protection from the nasty bacteria and benefits from being in contact with the good ones.

Today, much of our soil is depleted, dead, so the beneficial microbes that keep everything in balance are gone. We no longer consume fermented foods with their good microbes. Disease thrives in this unbalanced environment, so we over sanitize everything with harsh, harmful toxins. This contributes to the problem by producing "super bugs." There has to be a better way than this! We must be missing something!

Enter herbs! While amending the soil is something that will take decades, we can all benefit immediately from the use of herbs in our kitchens. Added to food, herbs are a powerful source of nutrients, flavor and allowing the nutrients in the food to be more bio-available to us. Many are also powerful anti-bacterials; did you know that one of the reasons for curry being such a stable in India is that the spices will kill bacteria such as E.Coli? In a hot climate with no refrigeration, preservation of meat and food safety is very important, and these curry spices really do the job.

Essential oils are concentrated extracts of herbs, and as such are very powerful. The "Four Thieves Blend" of essential oils has been proven to kill bacteria, fungus and viruses. But these oils are not the only ones; Tea Tree is a well known anti-bacterial essential oil, and many other essential oils have these properties too. We can use these for cleaning our homes, and for personal care products.

Traditional fats and oils are also powerful tools to help us keep our microbes in balance. Coconut oil contains a fatty acid called lauric acid, which targets the bad bacteria while leaving the ones we want alone. It has been used in both cooking and skin and hair care for centuries. Heavy cream and high fat milk also provided a good amount of lauric acid. We can gain the benefits of these wonderful oils by eating them or using them for skin and hair care.

Even sunlight will kill bacteria, a fact which my electric toothbrush uses to clean itself with! (UV rays.)

All this can seem a little bit overwhelming until you step back and look at the whole picture. These things are very easy to incorporate into your life, in fact I am sure you are doing at least one already. They are just a handful of examples, and you can use them in every part of your life. Just think, when we cook and clean with these herbs and oils, they are in the very air we breathe, on the surfaces of our home, inside and outside our bodies and our environment, doing so much good and adding so much richness to our lives, our taste-buds and our homes. When you use them all in harmony with each other, think about what a powerful accumulative effect they are having! What a wealth of balance nature has to offer! How rich and abundant she is!

I am amazed more and more by just how perfectly nature provides for us as long as we live in harmony with her. The more we learn about how the world works, the more it makes sense for us to do so.

How are you keeping your microbes in balance?

This post was shared through Homemaking Link Up and Simple Lives Thursday.

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