Easy DIY German Smear Brick Tutorial

DIY German Smear Brick Tutorial
DIY German Smear Brick

Want to give the old outdated brick in your home a stunning update without breaking the bank? Then you’re in the right place! In this post I will share with you exactly how I transformed my dark and dingy fireplace to a bright, airy and modern look! Here I will walk you through how I did it with this easy DIY German Smear Brick Tutorial! The best part, is I was able to do it for under $40- best $40 I’ve ever spent!

I am a sucker for white brick walls. In our last rental house, I put up white brick wall paper in one of the rooms and it looked so real and gorgeous! (see picture below! Yep, that’s wallpaper behind me!)

So when we moved into our new home, I was thrilled to find that it had a fireplace and REAL brick wall! The only problem was that the brick was ultra dark red and the fireplace was shiny outdated gold. I really wanted to brighten it up and obviously make it more modern, but since this was also a leased home, I wasn’t sure if I was technically allowed to make big changes to the house. (But I did know I can paint things as long as I select a neutral color, soooo better to beg forgiveness than ask permission right?)

So I waited until my husband was gone (naturally), did some research (not much because I basically wing all my DIY projects), got my supplies, and within 2 hours my grungy, outdated fireplace was transformed to something that looked like it belonged in a Magnolia magazine! (Maybe I’m getting cocky, but it definitely looks loads better!)

So, I won’t keep you waiting any longer! Here’s exactly how I did a DIY German Smear to my fireplace in less than two hours for under $40:

What You need to Know:

Before you do this project, you should probably first make sure you actually want a German Smear! There are other similar options, such as white washing your fireplace, but they each have very different looks. So please make sure this is the route you want to go!

What You Need:

Paint: I used this chalk paint and oh my gosh, I am in love with how well it turned out! It provides the texture and chalky finish of caulk without the painstaking work of having to actually apply it! Just make sure you have enough paint based on how much brick you’re working with. I used 2 __ oz cans, and still had probably a fourth of a can left over. However, I also painted the tile on the hearth completely white and I had to do like 4 coatings because it was a weird texture, so that’s why I used so much paint. 

Paint brush

Broom or any kind of brush to clean off the brick first

How to German Smear:

My method was super simple: I dipped the brush in the paint and slapped a liberal amount in the spaces between the bricks. Then I would brush over the bricks themselves with the leftover paint.

Yep, that’s it!

This method caused a thicker coating in between and on the edges of the bricks, and a lighter coating towards the middle of each brick. (Replicating what it would look like if the bricks were actually pasted together with white caulk.)

The best thing about this look, is that you pretty much can’t mess it up! Each brick is supposed to look different, so you don’t have to worry about making mistakes or it being a meticulous process. Just slap it on there and smear it around!

Tips for Successful German Smearing:

For faster, smoother painting, be sure to clean off the brick before you begin. I just brushed my wall off with my broom. 

Start in a more inconspicuous area until you get your method down. 

Start with a lighter coat of paint until you get a feel for how it looks. You can always add more paint if you want it thicker, but better play it safe and make sure it looks the way you want than accidentally overdoing it!

More DIY Projects

If you like easy, do it yourself projects, be sure to stick around! From vegetable pot gardens to industrial bookshelves, I am working on some really easy & affordable projects that I will share all my secrets on here with you!

In the meantime, if you like self sufficient living and working with your hands, check out one of my most popular posts on How to Make Your own Homemade Sourdough Bread! I’ve had so many people get back to me and tell me they were able to make their own delicious bread following my easy recipe! Let me know what you think!

Conclusion:

I absolutely love how this project turned out, and in case you are wondering, my husband likes it too (even though he was pretty grumpy about it when he came home and saw it for the first time! Sorry not sorry, hehe).

I added the finishing touches to my brick wall by adding a barn wood mantle above the fireplace. The barn wood is actually from the horse barn that my dad build when I was growing up. I love having a little piece of my country home with us as we live in the cities.

I’m really glad I did it- if I have to look at this wall the next several years, I want it to make me happy inside! Plus, it’s going to provide the perfect background to my Instagram pictures (because we know it’s all about the gram haha just kidding- sort of). I’d love to hear in the comments below how it turns out for you if you try it! Happy German Smearing!

Top 5 Ways to Establish and Boost Milk Supply

5 Ways to Boost Milk Supply Overnight

This post contains affiliate links. This means I may make a small commission at no cost to you should you choose to purchase through one of my links. I only recommend products I personally use, like, and trust. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Hey mama friend! If you’re reading this post, it’s because you care about your baby’s health and you want to keep them full, fat & happy! For that, you are one awesome mama! Way to go!

What I will Cover in this Post:

  • Why Breastfeeding is a great thing to do (if you can!)
  • How Postpartum Body Image & Fitness Mindset Relates to Milk Supply
  • Top 5 Favorite Products for Establishing and Boosting an abundant Milk Supply!

First things first, I just want to say that everyone’s breastfeeding journey is different, so the most important thing we can do is not compare, not get down on ourselves if we don’t have the milk supply we want, and give our body the grace and respect it deserves for all the hard and amazing work it has done! Cool? Great! Now let’s dive in!

Why Breastfeed?

Breastfeeding is an amazing function our bodies have- I think it’s literally a superpower for us women. I mean, not only do our bodies just know to make food for our baby, but it knows to make the healthiest form of food stacked with nutrients and antibodies that are EXACTLY what our baby needs- wow! God really outdid Himself when He created us!

The thing I love most about breastfeeding, is that it gives our babies antibodies and helps them establish their immune system- which for a germaphobe mom like me, that is really great news! I’ve even heard that kissing your baby’s forehead tells your body exactly which antibodies your baby needs so that you can start producing it for them! Yeah, like I said, superpower. 

However, this does NOT mean that your baby can’t get sick! Your baby is LESS likely to get sick from you, because he or she is directly getting your antibodies, but as for other people- make them cover their mouths, wash their hands, or stay the heck away from your baby! Had to get that out there. Young baby’s getting sick is not something to play around with in my opinion- (yes, I’m the mom who carries hand sanitizer with me and sprays it on my baby if someone touches them in the winter, I’m not ashamed.)

How Postpartum Breastfeeding & Fitness Mindset Relates to Milk Supply!

Like I said, everyone’s breastfeeding journey is different. With my first baby, I HATED breastfeeding. It hurt and I was so focused on losing the baby weight that I depleted my body and milk supply too much right away.

To add to it all, my baby was super ready for solid food by 4 months (check out my blog post on How to Make Easy Healthy Homemade Baby Food for 6-9+ Months!) , so after she started on those, she refused to nurse, which caused my milk supply to dip big time and I spent the next 5 months exclusively pumping which was super stressful and not fun. We eventually went to formula around 10 months or so. 

With my second, I decided to make breastfeeding and milk supply a main priority (over getting back into shape) and I’m so glad I did! This breastfeeding journey has been about giving my body time to heal, replenishing myself instead of depleting, and peace over perfection- and as a result, my milk supply has been amazing!

If you need some encouragement in the area of breastfeeding and getting back into shape– check out my IG post a while back about postpartum mindset! I hope it encourages you in your journey!

You CAN get back into shape while breastfeeding, but don’t do it at the expense of your and your baby’s well being. Like I always say, the only rolls I care about are the ones on my baby!

Establishing & Boosting Milk Supply

Ok, so let’s get to it! I focused on milk supply from the get-go with my second baby (and if you’ve seen my Instagram, you know he’s got plenty of rolls to go around!) so here’s how I did it!

In my hospital bag for when I went into labor I had a bag of lactation cookies packed, as well as a hand pump to start boosting milk supply right away. (Check out my Free Printable on the Ultimate Hospital Bag Packing Guide!) Here are my Top 5 products for establishing and boosting milk supply from day 1!

Lactation Cookies

The first night Kallos was born, I ate 2 lactation cookies each time after nursing him. These are the exact ones I used and they worked amazing- plus, they tastes great! For the first 4 or 5 months, I always had either lactation cookies or oatmeal chocolate chip cookies on hand and ate one or two after each nursing session (even in the middle of the night). I liked to buy a chocolate chip cookie bag mix and add some flaxseed to them for a little extra boost! 

Hand Pump

The second day in the hospital I started pumping. My favorite way to boost supply is by using my favorite hand pump while I’m nursing. I feed Kallos on one side and suction cup the hand pump on the other side! It’s a great way to tell your body to produce more milk and start storing milk for the future without having to find extra time in your already busy day to pump! 

Right away, I was only pumping maybe an ounce or two, but eventually I was pumping up to 4 or 5 ounces every time I nursed. There was one point where I was freezing up to 7 bags of milk a day in addition to what I was feeding Kallos. (Yeah, we had to buy a deep freezer just for my milk..)

Mother’s Milk Tea

Kallos is 6 months and I still make sure to have at least one big cup of milk boosting tea a day! Right away, I would have 2-4 a day. It is packed with nutrients designed specifically to boost milk supply and it tastes really yummy! It also pairs great with your oatmeal cookies, so win win!

Key Nutrients 

It is so important to listen to your body and make sure you are eating enough. Don’t let yourself go hungry! You are burning tons of calories breastfeeding (even if you’re not losing weight- some women actually retain weight while nursing- I am one of those women, lucky me) so it’s crucial that you give your body the calories AND nutrients it needs! Also, drinking TONS of water is super key to good milk supply. 

On top of increasing caloric intake, it is super important that you are including the right amount of nutrients for your body. Here are a few products that I take while breastfeeding in order to replenish nutrients to my body and keep my milk supply going strong!

Liquid Collagen

Liquid Collagen is the best form of collagen because it has a much higher absorbency rate (about 98% vs powder collagen which has about 30%- yikes!) Your body produces less and less collagen starting in your 20’s (depressing, I know) so by taking liquid collagen, you can replenish what your body is becoming more and more deficient in. 

This is the multi-patented, award winning, globally known Liquid Collagen I use- and plus, it also is amazing for skin (hydrates skin and reduces wrinkle depth!) as well as hair growth, which is KEY for that lovely postpartum hair loss! By the way, the link in this blog post will take $10 off at the final stage of checkout!

Vitamin and Mineral Packet

On top of my prenatal vitamins, I don’t go a day without my absolute favorite vitamin and mineral drink packet! I mix it with my water once a day to balance my blood sugar levels and for a nice healthy pick me up- and I notice on the days I don’t take it! It’s super yummy, packed with 70+ vitamins and minerals, and it gives you a nice sustainable caffeine free energy boost, which is a life saver for mom life! It also tastes amazing in smoothies, which can be a great snack for breastfeeding! (Link will also take $10 off)

Meal Replacement Shake

I know I said Top 5, but I’ll give you one more of my milk boosting secrets! This one is huge for both milk supply and also losing the baby weight! I always recommend breastfeeding mamas take this protein meal replacement shake to boost their nutrients as well as curb hunger and sweet cravings. I love it because it tastes like a treat but is super healthy and keeps you from binge eating junk food if you suddenly feel starving or depleted!

Conclusion

Nursing a baby isn’t always easy- but it is so worth it, and it IS doable! Have faith in your body and how God created it to work. Give yourself what you need to accomplish this amazing thing for you and your baby!

For more resources on all things mom life, faith, and clean living, sign up for my weekly newsletter! If you found this post helpful, please share it on Pinterest so that other mamas can find it as well! Happy breastfeeding!

How to Make Homemade Baby Food

How to make homemade baby food

It’s that time in our house again! Kallos is actually eating solid food, so I thought I would put together this post on how to make healthy, homemade baby food! I feel like I was just making baby food for Aria-how does time go by so fast?! I’m really happy with our breastfeeding journey so far, and if you’ve checked out my instagram, you can see that Kallos has plenty of rolls! However, the time has come, whether I feel ready or not! 

Be on the lookout out for my next post about my Top 5 Ways to Establish & Boost Milk Supply if you’re continuing to breastfeed as well. Just because your  baby is starting on solids doesn’t mean you want to dip your milk supply! Your baby still needs those valuable nutrients, and now is a great time to boost your supply so you can start freezing and storing milk to have on hand for when you stop nursing all together! (Or for that first weekend getaway without the kids- 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep… that still exists somewhere right?!)

In this post I’ll go over how to make your own homemade, healthy baby food! What our children eat is absolutely crucial to their health, mental and physical development, and behavior. You can start your baby on the path towards good health by what YOU eat during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as what food you allow them to eat when they first start eating solids.

Why Homemade Baby Food

Not only can it be very cost effective to make your own homemade baby food, but it is also oftentimes the safest choice for your baby. There are all kinds of toxins and chemicals hidden in the processed food found on many of our store shelves. Even the packaging can be harmful by containing BPA and other toxins. I highly recommend reading the book “The Vaccine Friendly Plan” by Dr. Paul Thomas and Jennifer Margulis to learn more about toxins and how you can make healthy choices for your children from pregnancy through the teen years! For more information on clean, non-toxic living, check out my blog post “Your Simple and Comprehensive Guide to Non-Toxic Living” where I go over all the basics of what everyday items could be harming your health and how you can easily incorporate healthy alternatives into your daily life.

Ingredients

Homemade baby food is so simple- the only ingredient you need is the fruit or vegetable you would like your baby to eat! I recommend choosing totally Organic, non-GMO vegetables to keep your baby from being exposed to pesticides and other harmful contaminants. For some liquid when cooking, you can use water or I like to use organic bone broth to add some extra nutrients. 

How to Make Homemade Baby Food

Directions:

Wash, peel and cut your vegetables (I peel and cube vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets and carrots. For green beans, simply washing and snapping the ends off is sufficient.)

Cook with desired amount of liquid in an instant pot or oven safe covered pot until soft. In an oven, I cook it at 450 for 25-30 mins. In my instant pot, I cook it on the veggies setting, which takes 20 mins.

Once the veggies are tender, I simply blend them in in my nutribullet until they are a pureed consistency. Next, I pour the puree into an ice cube tray and place it in the freezer. One frozen, I pop the ice cubes out and store in a freezer bag! Easy as that! 

When it’s time for supper, I take out the desired amount of cubes and unthaw them (you can heat them in the microwave, or on the stove if you prefer to avoid microwaves.) 

Sometimes I like to add some organic, non-GMO baby rice cereal or superfood baby mix to it to make it thicker, but it’s certainly not necessary. I usually have several bags of frozen baby food already made and ready in my fridge- each one labeled differently. Sometimes I like to mix different combos together, for more variety once I know that  baby has already safely been introduced to each food individually. 

Introducing Baby Food

When should you introduce your baby to solid food? What food should you start with? How much or how little? Those are all the questions I had when I first started my daughter on solids, so let me simplify it for you with some helpful guidelines!

When Should You Start?

Normally your doctor will recommend waiting until 6 months to start on solids. You can think about starting your baby on solids between 4 and 6 months, depending on if they are ready for solid food or not. Questions to ask are: can your baby hold their head up and sit up straight? Is he or she interested in food? Be sure to talk with your doctor about your baby’s weight and your milk supply and make sure your baby is getting enough nutrients for his or her age. 

What Foods Should You Start With?

There are some foods that are easier on the digestive system than others, so I would recommend starting cautiously and determining how your baby responds to each individual food. I always start my babies on green beans first because green beans are gentler on the tummy. Click here for free printable on which foods are best to start your baby on and in what order! 

Introducing one individual vegetable at a time will help you know which food is responsible if your baby has any food allergies or doesn’t react well to a particular food. 

How Much Should They Eat Right Away?

That depends on their age and appetite. However, it is important that their main source of nutrients is still breast milk or formula. I always nurse my baby before I feed Him solid food so that he fills up on those needed nutrients first and also so that my milk supply doesn’t dip. 

Each cube of baby food equates to about 1 ounce, give or take. I always start with one ounce of baby food and increase from there once I know my baby doesn’t have a bad reaction to the food and if they still seem hungry.

What Combinations Are Best?

As I mentioned before, I usually have several bags of individual baby food cubes in the freezer- for example, right now I have a bag of green bean cubes, a bag of sweat potato cubes, and a bag of carrot cubes. However, eventually I mix and match a bit based on what tastes good together and what nutrients I want them to eat for a more well rounded diet. Check out my Free Printable on my favorite homemade baby food combos for a healthier, well rounded diet!

Other Ways to Make Homemade Baby Food

In addition to cooking vegetables, there are some foods that don’t require being cooked! (Win, win right?!) Mashing up bananas and avocados for example are super easy, simple, and nutritious meals for your baby. I love these options especially if we’re eating at someone else’s house and I don’t want to bother packing a freezer bag for the baby food. Throwing a banana or an avocado (or both!) and a spoon into the diaper makes for easy supper prep on the go!

Conclusion

I hope this post simplified the process of making healthy, homemade baby food. Starting the journey of feeding solids to your baby can be so fun- and messy! Giving your baby a running start on the path towards good health and clean eating is one of the most rewarding and important things you can do for your child- so way to go mama! Keep up the amazing work!

For more info on clean living and momlife, sign up for our weekly newsletter where you’ll get all kinds of clean living hacks, tips and resources, so you can worry less and live better!

I’m always hanging out on the gram– feel free to stop by and say hi, and if your baby makes any funny faces while trying their first foods, I’d love for you to tag me so I can see it! Those videos and pictures are the BEST! Happy baby food making!

How To Make Easy Homemade Sourdough Bread

How to Make Homemade Sourdough Bread

This post contains affiliate links. This means I may make a small commission should you choose to purchase through one of my links. I only recommend products I personally use, like, and trust. Thank you for supporting my blog!

If you’ve been following my journey, you know that my husband Daniel and I have switched our entire life over to non toxic, clean living. You can read more about the different ways we have done that in my post entitled “Your Simple and Complete Guide to Non-Toxic Living”. But for this post, I want to walk you through one specific change we have made- and that is how to make homemade sourdough bread!

It’s important to note that even though Daniel has Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, he is not technically celiac intolerant. However, if you are celiac intolerant, you can still make your own homemade sourdough bread! Either find yourself a great gluten free flour, or you may want to check out this resource on einkorn wheat. Much of the reason our bodies can’t tolerate gluten today has more to do with the way our bread is processed than the actual gluten itself. Crazy right?!

Ok, now let’s get into the nitty gritty of how to make homemade sourdough bread!

Why Homemade Sourdough Bread?

Due to the fermentation process in the making of Sourdough bread, it is quite possibly the healthiest form of bread. Sourdough bread is higher in nutrients, prebiotics and probiotics, and has ingredients that aid in higher mineral absorption. (Source) The gluten in sourdough bread has been broken down more than regular bread, which can make it easier on the digestive tract.

Yes, you can buy sourdough bread from the store. However, even sourdough bread from the store may be more processed than homemade sourdough bread. In order to enjoy the full nutritional benefits, I recommend learning how to make your own homemade sourdough bread.

You can replace every form of bread in your diet with sourdough. Pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, garlic toast- you name it! Whatever types of carbs you currently eat can be swapped for this healthy alternative!

What You Need

In order to make a loaf of bread, you will need to first have sourdough starter. If you know someone who makes their own sourdough bread, you could borrow some starter from them to get yours up and running. If not, no worries! You can order some starter packets right here on Amazon, or make it from scratch. 

Feeding the Starter

Feeding the starter to have an endless supply of homemade sourdough bread is super simple! All you have to do is simply add equal parts of flour and water to the starter and mix it in with a wooden spoon. 

The only thing you have to remember is to not add more water or flour than what is already in the jar. For example, if you only have ½ cup of starter in the jar, don’t add 1 full cup of flour and water. Stick with ¼ cup flour and ¼ cup water.

I keep my starter in a tall empty pickle jar to keep it from bubbling over when it feeds. After you add the equal parts water and flour, mix well and cover with a breathable lid- I use a coffee filter held in place with a rubber band. Then simply leave it alone for the next 6-8 hours and let the starter work its magic!

Homemade Sourdough

Here is the recipe myself and many of my mom friends use for our sourdough bread (with a few tweaks that I have found helpful):

Ingredients 

¾ Cup of Starter

2 Tablespoons of Raw, Organic Honey

1 ½ Teaspoon Salt

1 ¼ Cup Warm Water (if starter is in the fridge, use hot water)

2 ½ + Cups of Organic Flour (You will continue to add flour as needed through the kneading process)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together with a spoon (it will be very sticky!)

Let dough sit for 20 mins

Add up to 1 cup of flour as you knead with hands until the dough sticks to itself and is soft and smooth. Dust top with flour and let rise in a well greased bowl 6 hours minimum. Fold dough once while rising in order to help bubbles form 

Bake in a dutch oven for 20 mins at 400 degrees. Turn oven off, coat top of bread with butter or coconut oil, cover and put back in oven 

Allow loaf to fully cool before slicing (allows it to fully cook on the inside while staying soft on the outside 

Cooking the Sourdough Bread

Cooking sourdough bread can be a bit tricky at first- but I promise, once you figure out what works for you, it will be so easy you’ll be whipping up batches of sourdough bread without a care in the world!

I probably botched my sourdough bread for an entire year before I made a successful loaf, all because I just followed the recipe and didn’t understand why it wasn’t cooking properly. So in this post, I will give you some tips and tricks to navigate how to cook it and how to fix some of the common issues just incase your dough doesn’t turn out!

Tip 1: The Knead

A successful loaf of homemade sourdough bread begins with the knead. In order for your dough to rise well, it can’t be too sticky or too dry. When I’m adding my flour per the recipe, I air on adding less right away, just to make sure it stays on the sticky side.

After letting it sit for 20 mins, I carefully add more flour until the dough is the right consistency. I don’t want the dough to stick to my hands, but I also don’t want it to be too dry or dense. Once it’s not sticking to my hands, I form it into a ball that is smooth and soft and I dust the outer surface with flour. 

Tip 2: The Rise

I let my dough rise in the same pot that I cook it in: a cast iron dutch oven. But you can let it rise in a regular bowl as well. Once the dough is formed and floured, I set it in a very well greased bowl to rise. (I grease my bowl with organic olive oil, and cover with a damp tea cloth).

Now we wait. How long you wait will depend on how warm of an environment your dough is in.

I live in the midwest where it’s either freezing outside during the fall, winter, and spring, or freezing inside during the summer because the AC is blasting.

So, in order to get my dough to rise well, I turn the oven on warm and place it over the exhaust burner so that it gets warm enough for the rise to be activated. Make sure it isn’t so warm that the dough starts baking however!

After at least 6 hours, your dough should be doubled in size- but if not, you can continue to let it rise. Once it’s at least doubled (if not tripled) in size, you can flour your hands up and fold the dough. (This allows air bubbles to form that make it light and fluffy when it cooks verses hard and dense.) I fold it over once and reform the dough- you may have to add some flour at this time to get the same soft, non-sticky consistency again.

Then, you let it rise one more time. Again, how long it needs to rise will depend on how warm/humid your surroundings are. Sometimes I let mine rise overnight, 8 hours or longer. The key is to just check on it and see when it has doubled or tripled in size. You don’t want to let it rise so long that it collapses, so once you see that it is full and big, then you can take the next step of baking it!

Baking the Bread

Before you bake it, slash the top of the dough three times with a knife, then add a dash of water to the top. This will help the bread stay moist and not get hard and crusty on the outside. 

Like I said before, I cook mine in a dutch oven. The benefit of the dutch oven is that it cooks the inside of the bread thoroughly without the outside getting too hard. I had serious issues with the inside not being done but the outside being hard as rock when I first started baking my own bread, so that’s why I switched to this method. 

I cook mine at 400 for 20 mins. Then I take it out and butter (or coconut oil) the top. I cover it and place it back in the oven and turn off the oven. I let the dough completely cool in the oven before opening it again. (I know, the wait can be rough! I suggest cooking it right before you go to bed, so that you can let it sit in the oven all night cooling and then you can have fresh bread in the morning!) If you cut the bread before it cools, you may be interrupting it from fully cooking on the inside.

The Eating!

Once the bread is cooled, you can pop it out of the dutch oven and slice it for all to eat! Sourdough bread tastes amazing plain, toasted, used as garlic bread, or it makes especially yummy french toast! I love making pizza dough with it as well, and I am currently experimenting with sourdough cinnamon rolls! (Blog posts for that coming once I have it down!)

My toddler is obsessed with homemade sourdough bread- we have to hide it at supper time otherwise she refuses to eat her other food! I don’t mind letting her have her fill because I know that she is getting important probiotics that are aiding in a healthy digestive system! It’s a much better feeling than knowing she’s just filling up on empty carbs.

A few more tips:

If you don’t have a dutch oven (this is my preferred way of cooking- it’s the only way that’s ever worked for me!) I know some people who use a pizza stone, or you can cook it in bread tins and cover with a cookie sheet.

You may have to fiddle with the cooking times and temperature based on what you bake it in and how hot your particular oven is. 400 for 20 mins in a dutch oven has worked for me no matter what oven I’ve used, but making bread is unfortunately not an exact science!

There are lots of variables that can affect how your bread turns out- but like I said before, once you figure out a system that works for your oven, you’ll have it down pat! Making sure that the bread cools completely is a big factor in making sure it cooks fully on the inside!

I’d love to hear in the comments how your bread turns out if you try this recipe! If you got value from this, I would so appreciate it if you would share this post with your friends so they can try it too! 

Your Simple and Comprehensive Guide to Non-Toxic Living

Non-Toxic Living

This post contains affiliate links. This means I may make a small commission should you choose to purchase through one of my links. I only recommend products I personally use, like, and trust. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Our culture as a whole is becoming more and more aware of the harmful chemicals we are constantly surrounded by.

Do a quick google search “how many toxins are we exposed to everyday?” and you’ll be shocked by what you find! From unnatural, processed ingredients in our food, to toxic chemicals in our shampoo, toothpaste, body lotion, household cleaning supplies- you name it, we are exposed to harmful contaminants on a daily basis.

No wonder we have a population battling heart disease, diabetes, and ever increasing cases of cancer and autoimmune diseases! Not only is this bad news for us and our families individually, but also for our economy and nation as a whole. More and more of our country’s federal spending is being put towards health care costs for a sick population, leaving less room for other crucial aspects of our nation’s survival, such as defense, education, infrastructure, and the environment. 

(If you want to learn more about how processed foods and toxins not only negatively impact our health, but also the economy and planet as a whole, I highly recommend “Food Fix” by Mark Hyman, M.D. He also provides very insightful answers on how we can help our world through non-toxic living!) 

(*Also, if you’re a mom and want to be well educated on non-toxic living / how toxins and aluminum impact your families health and how you can make safe choices for your children from pregnancy through their teenage years, definitely grab a copy of “The Vaccine Friendly Plan” by Jennifer Margulis, Ph. D and Paul Thomas, M.D. I love both of these books because of the fact based, common sense approach to health, toxins, and how they spread awareness about these very important topics!)

Thankfully, more and more people are realizing the need for non-toxic living!

So what if you want to live an overall non-toxic, healthier life, but you’re not exactly sure where to start? I got you covered! I was completely overwhelmed when I first began wading into the expansive waters of clean living. I hope this blog post can simplify the process and get you and your family off to a safe start!

What Does Non-Toxic / Clean Living Actually Mean?

I came from a fairly health conscious family. Both my parents are extremely active, we ate a well balanced diet, and we rarely ever had pop or junk food. As an athlete, eating healthy and working out were my normal way of life. 

But when my husband Daniel was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis, we had to revamp everything- from the food we ate to the personal care and household items we exposed ourselves to. 

I had no idea non-toxic / clean living was so expansive! It all seemed so overwhelming at first. I remember thinking “I just wish everything I needed to know was in one place!” So, from my life to yours, below is a simple but comprehensive guide to overall clean living, so that you can worry less and live better!

Food: Non-Toxic Living Starts with What You Eat

Let’s make this real simple: Our bodies and digestive systems do not change. However, our food and how it is processed has changed dramatically- particularly over the last couple hundred of years- making it very hard for our bodies to digest and handle it.

You can help your body out in a few simple, but very important ways:

  • Go non-toxic by eliminating pesticides and other harmful chemicals by eating Organic, non GMO foods.
  • Opt for the least processed foods that contain the least amount of chromosomes- such as ancient grains and heritage seeds and flour. 
  • Eat a wide variety of fruit, vegetables, and lean meat. Stay away from greasy, creamy, fatty, and sugary foods and drinks.
  • Drink TONS of water. This flushes toxins out of your body. If you struggle enjoying the taste of plain water, here is my favorite yummy vitamin and mineral packet that I mix in with my water for my afternoon pick me up! 
  • Don’t neglect your gut! Weight loss, metabolism, immune health, skin complexion, energy, you name it- it all begins in your gut. Incorporate foods rich in probiotics, such as greek yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut. You can get my favorite daily probiotic that Daniel and I use here. You can also check out my blog post on making your own sourdough bread- a great way to eliminate empty, processed carbs and add healthy probiotics to your diet all at the same time!
  • Eat REAL food. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, you may want to avoid it. Stick with foods that you know the origin of and avoid ones with extra ingredients mixed in. 
  • If you really want to get crazy, incorporate juicing into your diet! Ginger root, Turmeric, Thyme, beats, and even garlic are all anti-inflammatory, anti-viral foods that we juice in our house several times a week to maintain overall health. (You can also incorporate them into your cooking, but juicing can be a great way to absorb the nutrients and give your digestive system a little break.)
  • One of the best ways to go non-toxic is to do a detox! Help your body out as it works to eliminate harmful toxins by doing a detox. There are lots of ways to detox- this is the 3 Day Detox I do once a month through my clean living company (It’s a gentle detox, don’t worry- white pants approved!). It will eliminate toxins from your body, reignite digestive energy, boost your metabolism and target bloating!
  • Eat as natural meat as you can find- with no hormones, nitrates, added steroids or other harmful ingredients found in processed meat. Organic, grass fed, lean meat is always the safest way to go. 
  • Everything in moderation: When it comes to eating healthy, moderation is key. For example, you may assess your diet and realize you need to cut some calories, but that doesn’t mean you have to resort to eating only a chicken breast and some lettuce for supper. You need calories, sugar, even fat (yes, you need fat!) in your diet. Just be sure you are getting it from natural sources. (Avocados for example are a great source of healthy fats because they are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and berries and other fruit have natural sugars in them). Eat healthier, eat enough, and eat a variety. 

Now I should note here that if you have special health issues, you may need to adjust your diet accordingly.

For anyone struggling with Crohn’s disease or any form of IBS, I highly recommend the book “The Maker’s Diet” by Jordan S. Rubin. This really helped me understand the nature of IBS and how various foods affect inflammation in our bodies and our digestive systems! 

Non-Toxic Food Resources:

Eating Organic and non GMO is becoming more available and affordable. Target & Walmart both have their own brand of organic food at a very reasonable price! Aldi, Trader Joes, farmers markets, and even planting your own garden are also very affordable non-toxic options! Food delivery services like Thrive Market may be a bit more pricey, but they are available and may be worth checking out depending on where you live!

Personal Care & Household Items: Non-Toxic Living Made Simple

This was possibly the most overwhelming and time consuming switch for me. So I’ll save you the hours of researching and wondering which everyday personal care and household are harming your health and cut to the chase: Basically everything!

From skincare, to toothpaste, to shampoo and conditioner, to dish soaps and all purpose cleaners- just switch it all out to natural, non-toxic alternatives. I get all my clean living items that I use everyday shipped directly to my door each month through the company I market for. (I call it the Amazon Prime of Clean Living– what can I say, I’m a sucker for 3 day free shipping!)

I am in love with all of these products, but the shampoo and conditioner along with the all purpose cleaner are items I make sure to never run out of in our home! (FYI- the all purpose cleaner works amazing as a non-toxic stain remover as well!) Check it out for your one stop shop to clean living household and personal care items!

Non-Toxic Makeup

In addition to our skincare (check out my collagen skincare that has totally transformed my complexion and reduced those lovely wrinkles and eye bags, courtesy of mom life!) it’s important to take a closer look at the makeup we use! 

Skincare and Makeup can be loaded with toxins, putting women at risk for hormonal and infertility problems, among other health issues. If you’re looking for a place to start switching over in the makeup department, Young Living has some really great non-toxic, natural makeup, so feel free to check it out here!

Environmental: Wholistic Non-Toxic Living

Avoid plastics, BPA (found in the lining of canned goods, many plastics, and even freshly printed receipts), carcinogens, lead, and other environmental toxins that wreak havoc on our health. Here is a list of 20 toxins hiding in your everyday life!

Organic doesn’t just pertain to the food we eat. Clothing, mattresses, and other materials can carry very harmful chemicals- not ideal since our clothing and mattresses are in direct contact with our skin! Opt for organic alternatives wherever you are able to!

Do Your Research

I wish I could say that medical professionals always had the right information. I wish I could say that the CDC, pharmaceutical industry, and even the agriculture industry only had your health and safety as their main concern. 

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Wherever there is money (LOTS of money in these cases) and power, there is room for corruption. I’m not saying everyone in these fields can’t be trusted or is even knowingly giving bad information- but not everyone is willing to risk their livelihoods, careers, and safety by asking the right questions and actually looking at the ever increasing evidence that there are some serious health issues in our nation that need to be addressed. 

Do your own research. Look at what your sources may have to gain from the narrative they are pushing. Follow where the money is coming from / going. Be your own advocate when it comes to your health and the health of your family. No one knows what is better for you than you. Never feel guilty for asking questions and wanting to make informed decisions. 

Again, I highly recommend “The Vaccine Friendly Plan” by Jennifer Margulis, Ph. D and Paul Thomas, M.D. This book was such a great source of middle of the road, unbiased information that allows parents to be informed and make decisions that are best for their own individual families and health history. 

Germs & The Immune System

I wouldn’t be a true germaphobe if I didn’t dedicate a little bit of space to this, so here goes:

Germs are how people get sick! Yes, they also build our immune systems, but the fact of the matter is: it’s just not cool to go around putting infants, the elderly and immune suppressed, or anyone else for that matter at risk. A common cold for you may be life threatening for someone else. Take care of your fellow humans!

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Sanitize the shopping cart (with natural, safe sanitizers– not more harmful chemicals) Clean off door knobs, light switches, and other high traffic areas in your home where bacteria and sickness may be lurking. I spray my house down with Thieves All Purpose Cleaner every night, especially during cold and flu season to protect us from harmful germs that cause sickness while also boosting our immune systems. 

We wash our hands and practice good hygiene (cover your mouth when you cough, wash hands after you blow your nose or touch your mouth) throughout the day, and eat immune boosting foods as well! You can check out my Clean Living Highlights on my Instagram profile for all kinds of tips, recipes, and resources on what we do to boost our immune systems on a daily basis!

Life Style

In addition to going non-toxic from what goes on and in your body, there are a few other things you can incorporate into your life that will aid to your overall health and well being!

Sleep

Sleep boosts our immune systems and allows our bodies to fight off infection, repair and rejuvenate itself, and even equips us to better handle stress and emotions. Try to get 8 hours of sleep a night, and go to bed early if you can. There’s a host of statistics and research about sleep out there- but they all seem to support one common theme: Humans need sleep! Plain and simple. Making sure you’re getting enough of it is a crucial step in non-toxic living!

Slow Down

Here in the U.S, we live a fast paced, high stress lifestyle. Stress can cause inflammation and hinder your body’s ability to fight off free radicals, as well as a major contributing factor to weight gain and digestive issues. (Source) Take time to slow down. Put the phone away and spend quality time with the people you love. Invest in relationships. Make time for rest. 

Say no so you can say yes to things that are more important. Be careful what you commit to and be aware what things you may be neglecting because of how you choose to spend your time! 

Spiritual Health

Pray. Trust God in the daily stresses. Be anxious for nothing and go to God with everything. Enjoy the comfort and peace of living in God’s presence. Here’s a few Bible verses that really help me when I’m feeling overwhelmed and anxious: 

Philippians 4:6

Psalm 46:10

Proverbs 3:5

Psalm 23

2 Corinthians 5:7

Jeremiah 29:11

Exercise

Not to look a certain way, but to feel a certain way. The endorphins that are released into our body when we exercise boost our mood, provide mental clarity, and gives us a reason to feel accomplished! Exercise also aides in a non-toxic lifestyle by releasing toxins from our body through sweat! Don’t over do it if you’re out of the habit of exercising. Make physical activity a consistent pattern and be proud of yourself for doing something good for you!

Mental Health

Yes, we can experience non-toxic living in our minds as well! Our mental health is one of the biggest contributors to our overall health- after all, the brain controls the body! Unfortunately, this is often the most neglected. I am first in line when it comes to letting my mental well being slide down the priority list- especially during busy phases of life (which, let’s be honest, when are we NOT in a busy phase of life?)

The Mind Controls the Body

Take time for yourself, Recognize what things feed your soul and refresh you and make sure you are doing those things regularly! Get help if you need it- there is nothing to be ashamed of! I’m a huge fan of counseling- we all have issues, why not learn to deal with them in a healthy way?! Pay attention to your mental well being and make self care a priority. 

Emotional Health

If better sleep, less stress, more energy and more meaningful relationships don’t boost your mood and help you better handle negative emotions, then I have a few more important tips:

Physical touch. Did you ever know someone who gave the best hugs? That was my grandpa. I always felt so loved and safe and happy when I was engulfed in one of his big bear hugs!

Skin to skin contact is the very first thing a baby needs when it comes into this world and I don’t think that need ever completely goes away. Hold your children. Cuddle with your spouse. Hug or high five a friend. It might sound too simple- but it works wonders!

Connect on an emotional level. Connecting with other humans- bearing your soul, being seen and heard and loved for exactly who you are is so important. Have heart to hearts and surround yourself with the people who love you.

Deal with negative emotions instead of suppressing them. Work and grow through hardships instead of letting them rule over you. Be your authentic self and make room for the people who accept who God made you to be. Get rid of toxic people and relationships and invest in uplifting, edifying ones instead. (That’s right- you can go non-toxic with the people in your life too!)

Dive into personal development so you can understand unhealthy patterns or behaviors that are deeply ingrained in your mind. Read personal development books, go to counseling, surround yourself with wise friends. Grow as a person and experience the freedom and peace that comes with it. 

Mamas- if you could use some support in this area, follow me on Instagram for daily faith based personal development and encouragement!

Conclusion

Healthy / non-toxic alternatives in the small things amount to significant benefits over the course of our lives. I may not have an autoimmune disease like Daniel, but I personally want to stay healthy so I can be there for my children and as they grow up. I want to feel good so I can enjoy a beautiful day with my family. I want to be active and have a good quality of life as I get older. I want to be around to cultivate a relationship with my grandchildren. 

It may seem like more of an effort or investment now to switch over to non-toxic living, but it’s a heck of a lot easier than dealing with ongoing health issues and the medical debt that follows. Clean / non-toxic living isn’t just about the here and now- it’s about whether or not you have hope in the future- for your own life, and the life you want for your family for generations to come. 

Clean living isn’t just about the here and now- it’s about whether or not you have hope in the future- for your own life, and the life you want for your family for generations to come

I hope this post serves as a simplified, but comprehensive guide to non-toxic living and how you can start on the path towards an overall healthier way of life!

Hop over to my IG and check out my Clean Living Highlights to get more non-toxic recipes, tips and tricks on how we eat healthy, live well, and boost our immune systems on a daily basis!

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