Produce has pores!

The surface of a tomato – an electron photomicrograph

Back a few years ago when the economy was tough and pennies were being pinched, I worked for a “natural” products company. Most people were not interested in looking at our products let alone buying, so I reverted to demonstrating washing grapes with their natural dish soap! It worked for the most part. Until one day, one of my friends took me aside and explained to me that they could taste something funky which meant the grapes were not truly clean. They said: “You can do better than this. Why don’t you make your own?”

Over the next 3 or 4 months, I went to every major grocery store chain, looking for their respective fruit and vegetable wash. One-by-one I put them through my taste test, quickly becoming appalled. Every product that I sampled left a funky taste in my mouth! When I asked people if they used a wash they told me that most don’t work because they leave a funky taste behind, and some just used water.

If you want to clean something you need to know what the surface looks like, right? You are probably thinking, it’s just a grape or a tomato, or a cucumber, how difficult can that be?

Did you know that fruits and vegetables have pores? They are called “stoma” or “stomata”. These pores take in carbon dioxide needed for photosynthesis, and to release oxygen. These pores then close reducing water loss in hot or dry conditions. In the right conditions, they will actually sweat, much like human pores. (Click here to read more on pores in produce via this Wikipedia link). These stomata are tiny, microscopic and critical for the photosynthesis process and very difficult to clean.

The Surface of a Strawberry
an electron photomicrograph
See the folds in the surface – this is why it’s notoriously #1 on the Dirty Dozen

With two requirements and a bunch of knowledge, we set out to develop a new wash. First, it had to be an effective wash, removing wax and pesticides, all while paying attention to all of those stomata. Second, it must be a “residue free” wash. After rinsing, the solution needs to be gone!

A side note for a moment. Anyone who wears cosmetics knows how important it is to clean their skin at night. Cleaning fruits and vegetables are similar in that sense. When it is achieved, your skin will be fresh and vibrant. This is the same for fruits and vegetables. When effectively washed they will be cleaner, crispier and tastier.

It is my firm belief that when given two choices of the same food to eat, and one tastes better we all eat the best tasting option! If you simply try my wash, you will not be disappointed.

#goodtastelesswaste #cleanercrispiertastier #bestkitchensecret

I can’t get these apples clean!

Back row has been cleaned, front row is still very waxy!

Have you ever had this happen to you… or perhaps one of your kids took a bite out of an apple, promptly saying this apple doesn’t taste good then throwing it away before you have a chance to do anything?

I recently received an email from one of my customers saying, “I buy a smaller apple called rockets and they have a wax over them I have noticed that no matter how long I soak them I can’t get all this wax off, any suggestions?” You can only imagine my interest level and concern as I read their note. You see, I love solving problems… yet I’m concerned that my wash might not be working as advertised.

Further conversation revealed the following, my customer writes: “I have never had a problem with the wash getting the wax off but was unsure if I could use it directly on the fruit. I do love love love this wash as all the others I have used leaves a gross after taste!”

With this new knowledge, I offered the following… “Put a squirt or two directly on the apple then rub it in your hands… I personally had an apple yesterday that took 30 seconds or so of this kind of action to get it clean… when you do this you can feel the wax disappear”.

This phenomenon is quite common when dealing with fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers or apples, often times the wax is thicker or harder than normal and takes some extra effort to get it removed.

What I failed to mention to my customer is that the surface of the apple will go from being sticky to kind of slimy to almost squeaky. One of my product demonstrators encourages people to lick the apple before they clean it, then once again after it’s been washed, saying that you can really tell the difference. I’ve done this and he is right!

So just in case you didn’t realize it, you can use the wash undiluted on your fruits or vegetables. You can hand wash zucchini, apples, cucumbers or watermelon etc. When you do, notice the change in how the surface feels!

If you have questions or examples of how my Fruit and Vegetable wash has worked for you please post on my Life’s Pure Balance Facebook page.

When your produce is truly clean, it will taste better, raw or cooked doesn’t matter. The flavor will be cleaner, crispier and tastier!

Go to   fruitandveggiewash.com for additional product information. 

#cleanercrispiertastier          

6 Harmful Chemicals in Your Commercial All-Purpose Cleaner

All-Purpose Cleaner Chemicals

When we grab for our all-purpose cleaner to clean up a mess, most of us never consider that the chemicals in the spray may be causing more harm than good. Conventional all-purpose cleaners may get rid of the mess, but they leave behind toxic chemicals that are harmful to your health and the environment.

Conventional cleaners fail to get the job done without harm

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) routinely evaluates and rates cleaning products. Its analysis of hundreds of all-purpose cleaners found that more than 60 percent of them earn a D or F rating—yikes!

Cleaning product companies are not required to disclose the chemicals in their products because the government considers chemical compounds trade secrets. Some companies disclose a limited list of ingredients, while others make it impossible to find data on their products.

Six of the worst offenders

The EWG’s latest analysis found 75 percent of cleaning products contained chemicals that cause respiratory irritation and distress. All-purpose sprays were the major offenders of this group. Other products contained chemicals linked to cancer.

Here’s a list of the most common harmful chemicals in your conventional cleaning products.

Benzene Exposure to benzene can cause dizziness, irregular heartbeat, eye and skin irritation, and a decrease in red blood cells leading to anemia.
Disinfectants Ethanolamine and quaternary ammonium compounds are common disinfectants and can trigger and even cause new cases of asthma.
Formaldehyde A common chemical in cleaners and detergents, formaldehyde is linked to cancer, irritation of the eyes, nose, and skin, asthma, and COPD.
Fragrance Chemically, the word “fragrance” in an ingredient list can mean anything. Studies have linked fragrances to allergies, immune system effects, and respiratory irritation.
Solvents The solvent 2-butoxyethanol is an ingredient found in all-purpose sprays, including some “green” sprays, and can cause damage to red blood cells and eye irritation.
Surfactants Alcohol ethoxylate surfactants are banned in the EU for their poor health effects, but not in the United States.

 

A better choice for a greener clean

Fortunately, you have better options for an all-purpose cleaner. Environmentally friendly, all-natural sprays powerfully clean up your worst messes without hazardous chemicals. My Earth’s Natural All-Purpose Cleaner uses thymol and citric acid, two plant-derived, all-natural ingredients that will wipe out your mess without making you and your employees sick.

To learn more about the hazardous chemicals in your commercial cleaner or to switch to a greener clean, contact me today.

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

Sources:

EWG All-Purpose Cleaners

EWG Spring 2016 Update

Organic Authority

4 of Your Favorite Restaurant Cleaners Revealed … and 4 Healthier, Greener Cleaning Alternatives

Restaurant cleanersCleaning products touch every surface of your restaurant, including the plates, glasses, and flatware you serve food on. It’s important that the products you use don’t pose health hazards to you, your guests, and your employees.

We’ve been trained by the cleaning product industry that effective cleaning is only possible with harsh chemicals. It simply isn’t true. Many powerful commercial cleaning products on the market today are derived from natural ingredients. They’re also cost-effective. Here are four of your favorite restaurant cleaners and four healthier, greener alternatives to consider.

  1. All-Purpose Cleaner

Crumbs, spills, grime, dirt: Your all-purpose cleaner handles it all. But if there’s bleach in your cleaner, it could be doing more harm than good. Sodium hypochlorite is a popular form of bleach. It gets an F rating from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) for its effects on human health and the environment. Sodium hypochlorite can trigger asthma in sensitive people and is highly irritating to the skin and eyes. It’s found in many products, including Lysol Professional All-Purpose Cleaner with Bleach.

The active ingredients in natural all-purpose cleaners are derived from plants. Citric acid, for example, is derived from citrus fruits. Thymol, another disinfectant, comes from the thyme plant. Earth’s Natural All-Purpose Cleaner’s active ingredients are citric acid and thymol.

  1. Dishwashing Detergent

When you serve food, you get dirty dishes. Lots of them. They’re handled by your chefs, servers, guests, and dishwashers. With dishes passing through so many hands, it’s vitally important that your dishwashing detergent be effective and non-hazardous.

Antibacterial properties and a pleasing odor may be at the top of your list when shopping for dishwashing detergent. The popular antibacterial chemical, triclosan, is a known health and environmental hazard. It’s found in many dishwashing detergents, including Joy Ultra, which gets a D rating from EWG. Companies are not required to disclose the chemicals in their fragrances, many of which are harmful.

Not all effective detergents contain triclosan and other harmful chemicals, though. BioKleen Dish Liquid receives an A rating from EWG. Its all-natural ingredients pose a low health risk to humans and are easy on the environment, too.

  1. Floor & Surface Cleaner

Often, restaurants use separate, tough-acting cleaners to disinfect and sanitize floors and surfaces. Tough-acting is often marketing code for hazardous. Clorox Disinfecting Floor & Surface Cleaner’s known ingredients, for example, are both D-rated with EWG, giving the product a D rating overall. Both known ingredients cause respiratory irritation.

Healthy floor and surface cleaners contain natural—often plant-derived—ingredients to powerfully clean your floors and surfaces. Instead of Clorox, try Earth’s Natural All-Clean.

  1. Degreaser

Let’s face it—when you cook, things get greasy. Degreasers clean grill hoods, grease traps, and slimy, greasy areas around the stove and griddle with powerful solvents.

Conventional degreasers contain one or more hazardous chemicals. Despite its name, Simple Green Heavy Duty Cleaner and Degreaser isn’t so green. It gets an F rating from EWG, mostly due to the didecyldimethylammonium chloride, which causes moderate to severe skin irritation.

Fortunately, safe, natural ingredients can also powerfully dissolve grease and grime. Earth’s Natural Sewer Degreaser contains limonene, which naturally occurs in the rinds of citrus fruits.

You don’t need to bring out the haz-mat suits to effectively clean your restaurant. To learn more about your all-natural, healthy, and environmentally friendly options, contact me today.

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

The Straight Dope on Flea and Tick Treatments

Paco Approves of Natural Flea and Tick Treatments

All Life’s Pure Balance products are Paco Approved.

When it comes to flea and tick prevention for your pet, your options seem endless. You can find treatments at the vet, pet supply store, Target, the grocery store, and virtually any other store selling pet supplies.

But just because flea and tick treatments are readily available does not mean they’re safe for your pet—or for you. Flea and tick treatments are evaluated by the EPA, not the FDA, and have only been tested for safety since 1996. Treatments do not need to undergo field tests to be sold in the United States.

What’s in Flea and Tick Prevention Treatments?

Flea and tick treatments are insecticides that kill fleas and ticks. Each name-brand treatment has a different active ingredient. Some spot-on treatments, which are applied along the spine of your pet, contain pyrethroids. They are responsible for more than half of all major reactions to pesticides in pets and cannot be used on cats. These reactions may result in seizures, heart attacks, and brain damage.

Other spot-on treatments contain fipronil, a synthetic chemical that causes paralysis in fleas and ticks, or selamectin, which blocks the nerve signals of fleas and ticks. Imidacloprid is not effective against ticks, but is found in some treatments for fleas.

Tips for Applying Flea and Tick Treatments

Though generally thought to be safe when used as directed, these powerful chemicals can be harmful to you and your pets if misapplied. Read all of the instructions in the treatments and strictly follow them. Never use a dog treatment on a cat, or a cat treatment on a dog. Certain chemicals that are safe for dogs may be harmful to cats, and vice versa.

Know your pet’s weight and choose a product that is suitable for him or her. Don’t split the dose for a large dog in half for two small dogs. Never use the treatments on pregnant or elderly animals.

After applying the treatment, watch your pet for signs of poisoning, including dilated pupils, vomiting, tremors, salivating, shivering, hiding, and skin irritation.

Consider Natural Flea and Tick Treatments

Of course, the easiest way to avoid harm from these products is to purchase all-natural treatments instead. Linalool and d-limonene are derived from citrus fruits and can disrupt the nervous systems of insects. Shampoos containing d-limonene, oatmeal, and essential oils like peppermint, cedar, and cloves gently and effectively wash away fleas and ticks. They also leave your pet smelling and feeling clean and fresh.

Read up on flea and tick treatments before you apply one to your pet. For more information on safe and effective flea and tick treatments, contact me today!

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance