DIY home cleaning products
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably are aware that most home cleaning products (and personal care products too, by the way), are full of chemicals that are pretty harmful for the environment - and may be toxic to you and your family as well. In fact, according to the Environmental Working Group, indoor pollution is one of the most dangerous environmental hazards to health—and the cleaning products you use are a major contributor.

The good news is, there are tons of much safer natural options on the market today. While many of them used to be quite pricey, prices have come down in recent years, and you can find many all-natural cleaning products for about the same price as their chemical-filled counterparts.

However, some of these products may still contain ingredients you may not want in your home - or they may still cost a bit more than you want to spend.

If this is the case for you, don't despair! You can still have a clean, fresh, and safe home, without spending lots of money on cleaning products. Just make your own using simple, natural, and safe ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry!

In fact, all you need to get started are 6 very basic ingredients, plus some spray bottles for mixing and storage. Here's what you'll need, as well as a list of all-natural D.I.Y. home cleaning product recipes, courtesy of Thrive Market:

Future of food video
With all the craziness going on lately with regards to health and nutrition, you may be wondering where we're heading as a species.

Will we all have to become vegan for the planet to survive, or can we still eat meat? Will GMOs kill us all, or are they okay? How can we possibly regain our health with all the conflicting information floating around out there?

This interesting video sheds some light on the subject of healthy eating, and how we can learn to eat healthier while still preserving the planet's precious resources.

Grass-fed beef
** Updated June 2016**

I don't usually like to call out my fellow health-minded writers; after all, we are all in this together, right? We are all trying to do our best to help people learn to make healthier choices and lead healthier lives. And while I'm sure the author of the article I read this week about grass fed-beef had good intentions, it got me pretty fired up, and since this topic is near and dear to my heart, I felt I had to address some of the many points in her article that were misleading, misinformed, or just plain false.

The title of her article is "Is Grass-Fed Beef Worth the Money?", and you may have a different answer than me, and that's fine. But I want to make sure you are getting the facts straight before you decide, so here is my rebuttal.

Geothermal well drillingThe drilling rig.
It was an exciting week on our little homestead, as the geothermal project we have been planning since before we bought the house was finally completed on Friday!

I've been promising an update for a while, so here is the scoop on our installation - though it's probably not as exciting for you. :-)   I did want to share our experience anyway, for those who may be considering a geothermal system for your own place. I did a LOT of research over the past year, and found some of the experiences that others had shared to be very helpful.

This is an old house - built in the 50's, and so it is a replacement for the old furnace - not a new build. This means the contractors had some fun challenges to deal with, like the 4' crawlspace the pipes had to be run through to get to the basement.  :-)
   But overall the project was actually pretty straightforward - the planning phase took the longest. The actual installation took about 2 weeks, and that was mostly because the company that drilled the wells couldn't fit us into their schedule right away.

Here's what happened (plus pictures!) - and our experience with the system so far (which has been about 48 hours). :-)

Industrial agriculture
Decades ago, when people said "farming", the "organic" part went without saying. But during the second half of the last century, massive food producing conglomerates collectively now known as "agribusiness" have changed the way that we look at, purchase, and consume food.

As if this weren't bad enough, they've somehow managed to convince us that artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified foods are the only way our planet can survive.

The truth, in fact, is just the opposite!

In reality, if we want to survive as a species, it's only a matter of time before we will find these modern methods completely unsustainable. (Hopefully, we'll figure this out before it's too late!)

Here are the 7 things that make our current model of industrial agriculture unsustainable, and what we need to do in order to fix this mess:

Healthy eating
I've noticed something interesting about our weekly email updates that we send out to our subscribers. Whenever we send one that focuses on something like improving relationships, or financial balance, fewer people open the update than when we send one that directly addresses a specific physical health topic like healthy eating, or fighting disease.

From a marketing standpoint, you might say that in that case, it would be better not to focus on those topics. But this defeats the purpose of our main premise of holistic living - that is, that everything is connected!

While most people may think that being healthy simply means eating foods that are good for you, and getting enough exercise, in fact, we feel that True health goes much deeper than that.

Wet fieldsThe current swamp/site of future pond.
As brutal as parts of this winter were, it's hard to believe it's actually April already! Winter shook us like a dog with a rat, then rather suddenly lost interest and went away....

Now the sun is shining, trees are budding, and sap is rising - and I am chomping at the bit to be out in the garden!  Only, I can't, because the "garden" is basically a swamp....

Hot with excitement to get out the tiller, build beds in our newly roped-off garden space, and plant asparagus, fruit trees, veggies, and more, our lofty ambitions were dashed last week when we checked the forecast and realized rain was predicted nearly every day for the  next 10 days.  :-(

Heirloom corn
If you're anything like me, you love an uplifting, feel-good story about taking back control of our food supply - and this one comes just in time for spring planting! Whether you're a fan of Forks Over Knives, Food, Inc., or Fresh, you need to check out the new documentary, Open Sesame: The Story Of Seeds. This may be one of the most important food documentaries out there, as it tells a story that affects each and every one of us, no matter what your dietary beliefs, preferences, or choices are.

Everything starts with a seed. As it says in the movie, "without seeds, nothing else would exist." Whether you're a vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore like me, you and your food exist because of seeds. Everything you eat comes from a seed - even animals, which are fed on plants that come from seeds.

Yet you may be shocked to learn that 90% of the vegetable seed varieties in existence 100 years ago are now extinct! (I shared a helpful visual of this a couple of years ago on our sustainable gardening blog.)

The loss of seed diversity may seem like a shame, but how does it really affect you? In truth, it's actually a grave danger to our survival as a species (see #1 below).

The good news is, there IS something you can do about it: Plant heirloom or open-pollinated seeds!

Here Are 3 Reasons Why You Should Grow Heirloom Seeds This Year:

Chemicals you wear
Last week we talked about 9 dangerous chemicals that are commonly found in the personal care products you use every day. Use of these chemicals has been linked to cancer, infertility and reproductive issues, obesity, hormone imbalance, endocrine system disruption, autism, ADHD, liver and kidney toxicity, and more; yet many people aren't aware of the harmful effects these ingredients may be having on their health.

If you haven't checked out last week's post, be sure to do so, and make a list of these chemicals so that you can check labels when shopping and avoid them!

This week we're exploring 9 more common chemicals that you should avoid - and how to find safer, healthier alternatives, so that you can buy the gift of good health for yourself and your loved ones this holiday season.

Genetically modified seed corn
One of the fiercest debates raging in the food community these days (or maybe ever), is the debate about genetically modified organisms - and particularly, foods. In truth, the debate is more about politics than it is about health, but health is where we need to start. The pro-GMO camp swears that GM foods are totally safe, while the other side counters with a range of arguments, from the seemingly reasonable contention that GM foods should be labeled as such, to the extreme position that GMOs could be the end of life on this planet.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably can guess that I fall somewhere in the middle. But I still think it's an important topic to address, especially considering how much of our food now contains genetically modified ingredients.

For one thing, the contentions that GMOs are "safe" for humans to eat really don't have a lot of long-term evidence to back them up.