Green Clean Your Coffee Maker!

greek-coffee-1328798-639x511Coffee scum. We’ve all seen it. It’s the brown stuff left behind in your coffee mug and the filter basket and carafe in your coffee maker. Coffee scum comes from the fatty acids in your coffee and is exacerbated by the quality of your water and your coffee beans. Here are my tips for how to green clean your coffee maker and prevent coffee scum from forming.

What causes coffee scum?

Coffee’s fatty acids are to blame, but scum can get worse if you have hard water or purchase low-quality beans. The minerals in hard water bond with the acids in the coffee and adhere as scum on your mugs and coffee maker. Poor-quality coffee beans are more acidic than other beans and may leave behind more scum.

How can I get rid of coffee scum naturally?

You need to be careful about the cleaning products you use in and on your coffee maker, since you eventually consume the coffee you brew. Cream and sugar? Yes. Hazardous chemicals? Not so much.

A diluted degreaser with natural ingredients can cut through scum without causing you harm. Look for one with limonene, derived from citrus fruits. After degreasing the surfaces of your coffee maker’s filter basket and carafe, rinse them thoroughly with water.

To clean the interior of your coffee maker, mix equal parts water and vinegar. Pour the mixture into the reservoir of your coffee maker, add a filter to the filter basket, and brew. The vinegar will help clear out the reservoir and lines. Repeat with just water to rinse the maker.

Can I reduce or prevent coffee scum?

Absolutely! If you have hard water, use filtered water to brew your coffee (or take the plunge and install a water softener). Buy high-quality coffee with low acidity and avoid flame-roasted beans, which can increase acidity.

You don’t have to start your morning with coffee scum. Use all-natural cleaners to remove scum and keep your coffee maker in good running order. I can help you find a product that works well and won’t harm you or your environment. Contact me today!

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

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

5 Tips for a Healthier and Greener Pregnancy

Healthy Pregnancy TipsA recent poll found that 69 percent of expecting mothers who read the popular pregnancy website The Bump were more interested in going green during their pregnancies than they had been before they were pregnant. Using all-natural, organic products during pregnancy can reduce your baby’s exposure to hazardous chemicals. But switching to organic, all-natural products can also improve your health and well-being during pregnancy. Here are five ways to green up your pregnancy.

  1. Add More (Organic) Green to Your Diet

Greening up your pregnancy diet will make you feel more nourished and support your baby’s development. A well-balanced diet rich in protein, fiber, iron, calcium, and folic acid includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Go organic as much as possible to boost nutrition and avoid toxic chemicals found in pesticides.

  1. Spend Time Outdoors

Taking a moment to enjoy the green outside (or, in Minnesota winters, inside at the Como Park Conservatory or Minnesota Zoo) can boost your mood and increase your activity. Both are good for your well-being and the health of your baby.

  1. Avoid Artificial Fragrances

The Environmental Working Group calls the label “fragrance” a code-word for “chemical cocktail.” Companies are not required to disclose the chemicals in their fragrances. Many of these chemicals may cause hormone disruption, allergic reactions, or worse. Go all-natural during your pregnancy by avoiding products with “fragrance” or “parfum” in the list of ingredients. If you need a scent, go for an organic essential oil.

  1. Chose Organic Supplements

Pre-natal vitamins, omega-3s, and vitamin D are commonly prescribed to expecting mothers. Before heading to the pharmacy to find the cheapest option, take a look online at what organic products are available. Quality and pureness of supplement ingredients is as important as the quality and pureness of your food.

  1. Slather on Organic Personal Care Products

Choose organic, all-natural shampoo, soap, and other personal care products for the same reason you want to avoid artificial fragrances and choose organic supplements. Using organic, all-natural products reduces your and your baby’s exposure to toxic chemicals.

Need more green and healthy pregnancy tips? Watch for my follow-up post next month! In the meantime, shop GetGreenwithGene.com for all-natural maternity and baby products.

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

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

4 Reasons to Use Essential Oils This Christmas

Holiday Essential OilsWith Christmas already here next week, you’re likely already in the spirit of the season. Aromas from boughs of evergreens and holiday baking fill your home and put you in a festive mood.

But you may also be experiencing the stress of the season, especially if you’re traveling or hosting the family get-together. Before you give into your bah-humbugs, take a minute to discover how essential oils can help you make your holidays a bit brighter.

  1. Essential oils reduce stress

They can also help you relax, release frustration, and soothe your anxiety. Here are the top oils for stress reduction and relaxation:

  • bergamot
  • chamomile
  • lavender
  • rose
  • sandalwood
  • ylang
  1. Essential oils give your energy and mood a boost

The holidays take a lot out of us. These essential oils can help you stay energized as you prep for Christmas travel and company:

  • balsam
  • geranium
  • lemon
  • orange
  1. Essential oils help keep your emotions in check

Christmastime can conjure up all sorts of emotions, leaving us feeling adrift. Here are the top three essential oils for feeling grounded:

  1. Essential oils can ease indigestion

It’s true! These essential oils can help with the gas, bloating, and stomach upset that accompanies eating too many Christmas treats:

The scents of many of these essential oils complement the season. Balsam, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and peppermint are festive and benefit your overall wellbeing. Add these oils to a body oil for a wearable scent, diffuse them to add scent to a room, or put a drop or two on the inside of your toilet paper rolls to freshen up the bathroom.

However you choose to use them, essential oils can help you relax and enjoy the holiday season. For great deals these and other essential oils, including free shipping on orders over $50, shop GetGreenwithGene.com or contact me!

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

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

T-Minus One Week until Turkey Day! Are You Ready?

Happy Thanksgiving!Thanksgiving is only a week away. If you’re hosting your family and friends for the big meal, you may be going a little crazy keeping track of the details. Don’t let Thanksgiving prep stress you out. Here are the highlights from PBS Food’s Thanksgiving Prep checklist to keep you on track this week.

Thanksgiving Prep: Do Now

There are several tasks you can do seven days prior to Thanksgiving so your sanity remains intact before the big day.

  • Order your flowers or other décor for your centerpiece and schedule delivery for Wednesday to take that errand off your plate.
  • Review or put together your menu and get your game plan ready for Thanksgiving with this cheat sheet.
  • Pick out the wine you’ll serve at dinner and dessert, including red, white, and sweet options.
  • Plan your seating arrangements, especially if you’re seating people at multiple tables and you’re worried about family politics taking over the dinner conversation.
  • Put together kids’ activities to keep the little gobblers out of your hair on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Prep: Do This Weekend

Take advantage of the weekend to put yourself in a good position for a stress-free Thanksgiving. Here’s your to-do list for the weekend.

  • Get your grocery list ready and plan your shopping trip to avoid grocery store crowds.
  • Prepare any dishes that can be frozen and reheated to cut down on the prep you do on Turkey Day, including many baked goods and side dishes.
  • Iron the linens and polish the silver in front of a movie Friday or Saturday night.
  • Defrost the turkey, which needs to thaw one day per four pounds of bird.

Thanksgiving Prep: Do the Week Of

If you’ve taken care of these to-do lists, you’ll be in good shape for Turkey Day. In the few days before Thursday, clean and decorate your home, confirm your guests, and execute your menu game plan. On the big day, you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy your guests (and some football!).

Hoping to add some healthy options to your Thanksgiving or holiday table? I’d love to share some wonderfully delicious ideas with you. Contact me!

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

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

8 Creative Ways to Thank Your Clients This Holiday Season

10204895_sAs you’re giving thanks for your family and friends this holiday season, don’t forget to throw your clients into the mix, too. Go beyond a phone call or a handshake with one of these creative thank you ideas.

  1. Host a thank you event

Get your gratitude out in one fell swoop by hosting an event for all your clients. Treat your clients to a lunch or dinner, an open bar happy hour, or a family-fun event like an indoor carnival or picnic. Make sure to thank your clients at the event individually or in a heart-felt toast. Send them away with a great favor.

  1. Send a shout-out

If you’re active online, send a personalized shout-out to your clients on social media or your website. Use specifics to tell your followers why you’re thankful. You can also feature a client in your newsletter. Shout-outs are especially effective if you are in a business-to-business industry because you can link to your client’s own website and social media pages.

  1. Give a book

Is there a book you read when you were starting your business that made an impact on your success? Or, perhaps there’s one that is meaningful to your mission, values, or industry. Share the book with your clients as a thank you for doing business. Autograph the book yourself with a personalized message about why it’s important to you and why you’re thankful for your client’s business.

  1. Send treats

Cookies, popcorn, candy, and edible fruit arrangements are welcome thank you gifts any time of year, but especially during the holidays when your clients can share them with family and friends. Try to choose treats that are meaningful to either you or your business. Send chocolate chip cookies if they’ve always been your favorite or popcorn if you’re a video production company.

  1. Write a note

A handwritten thank you note is very traditional, but in this digital age, also quite unexpected. Take a moment to compose a quick, handwritten note to your client and send it through snail mail. It may take a day or two to reach your client, but it will make an immediate impact.

  1. Give a donation

What do you get the client who has everything? Nothing at all! Instead, give a donation in their name to a charity that is meaningful to you (or them!). You can even make it part of your onboarding process: ask new clients what their favorite charity is when they start working with you, and then wow them at the end with a donation to that group.

  1. Record and share a video

Suffer from chronic writer’s block? Don’t let that stop you from thanking your clients. Record a video thanking them instead and post it to your website and YouTube. Describe how much working with your client means to you.

  1. Give a gift (card)

Reward your clients for doing business with you with a gift card. Reach out to your referral partners and other businesses you know, like, and trust to stockpile gift cards you can send as a thank you. Remember to include a short note, too.

Thank your clients in a creative, meaningful way this holiday season. For more creative thank you gift ideas, contact me today.

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

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance