Debug Your Life!!

mosquito repellent natural

Mosquito Planter (abundantliving.com)

Mosquitoes and flies rampage through our life in the summers.Veganlifestyle is similar to Jainism in many ways.Vegans are against harming organisms as well. Whether going out or enjoying a bit of breeze in your own home, mosquitoes play spoilsport in all spaces. These mosquitoes are not only a nuisance they alsocause diseases like Dengue and Malaria. These are highly debilitating diseases and in some extreme cases they are also life threatening. The obvious choice during these seasons is to use a mosquito repellent, but it is also important to know the tradeoffs involved in getting rid of mosquitoes through conventional methods.

Most conventional insect repellents contain DEET (also listed on labels as N, N-Diethyl-m-toluamide or N, N-Diethyl-3-Methyl benzamide). DEET is highly effective at repelling mosquitoes, but is also an eye irritant and can cause blisters and rashes on some users. More rarely, DEET has been associated with lethargy, confusion, disorientation, and mood swings.In addition to popular forms such as aerosols and pump sprays, DEET is also found in lotions, creams and gels. The chemical keeps insects away for hours after application and can be applied over sunscreen. As long as DEET has been around, it has raised questions over its safety from both citizens and scientists. Some are bothered by the smell, while others worry that it may irritate skin; many have also felt the sting of accidentally spraying insect repellent over a small cut.

DEET is a persistent environmental contaminant that breaks down slowly in soil. It stays in soil and water over a long period of time harming all creatures and plants that come in contact with that soil and water. This disrupts our ecosystem in ways unimaginable. All the plants that grow on that soil, animals that eat those plants and humans that feed on those are ingesting these contaminants over a period of time. Long term studies regarding the ingestion of this chemical over a sustained period of time are not easily available.

Different insect repellents contain different active ingredients, some natural and some artificial, but all of them work in a similar way. Insects, particularly mosquitoes, are drawn to the carbon dioxide people release when they breathe, as well as certain odors from the skin. The insect repellent works by masking this smell and replacing it with a smell that is not to the liking of the insects.

Insect repellent should not be the first line of defense against insects, since these products can carry risks for the environment as well as your health. For people living in regions where mosquitoes are plentiful, it’s important to use repellents as part of their protection against diseases like Dengue and Malaria. Insect repellents made of plant-based oils may offer protection against insects. They might not be as effective as DEET or Picadarin but they are less harmful to environment as well.

DIY Mosquito Repellent

DIY Mosquito Repellent (realfoodenthusiast.com)

Insect repellents are a necessary evil. The effects of natural plant based insect repellents have not been explored in great detail. Vegan options prepared from plant based oils that contain essential oils like Peppermint, Citronella, Lemon grass and Clove oil are also highly effective means of repelling mosquitoes. Also methods like wearing long sleeves and long pants in light colors in summers can be a precaution as mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors. Another way to avoid bugs is to keep doors and windows closed from dusk till dawn, when the insects are at their worst. Putting netting in doors and windows to avoid bugs at home and preventing any water clogging are also important for keeping home insect free. Since mosquitoes can breed even in tiny pools of stagnant water, inspect your property for potential larvae infestation. Make sure that your window nets are hole-free

Essential oils like Citronella, Lemongrass, Peppermint, and Cedar wood oils are good insect repellents. Be sure to test them on a small area of skin first, as some people are allergic to citrus or other aromatic oils.  You can use them in diluted form on your body or use them as aroma oils in your household. Remember to purchase them from organic or vegan stores to ensure high quality of the product oils.

A Private Oasis

Herb Garden

          Basil the perfect starter herb
                        Flickr.com

In the hustle and bustle of the urban life all of us long for a spot of green. Vegetation is good for mind body and soul. Who among us has not looked at a beautiful flower or fruit on the tree and felt at peace with nature. The concrete jungles that we live in and lack of space, leaves this need in us to nurture and grow unfulfilled. The good news here is that acres and acres of land and a gardener is not required to maintain a satisfying and helpful kitchen herb garden. Ever looked at supermarket basil and cilantro and felt like just picking some up fresh from a planter near you, well it is not so difficult. People looking for Healthy food choices and most Vegans eat a lot of greens in their regular diet. It is a great idea to connect with your food by growing it, liven up your balcony and get fresh ingredients to perk up your cooking. Herbs are among the easiest plants to grow.  Fresh herbs are one of the greatest ways to jazz up the taste of vegan food without adding harmful spices.  One of the great perks of growing your own herb is that you know what goes into it and it can be organic and chemical free. Also you can use as much of it as you like at one go and don’t have to buy bunches of herbs and store them in your fridge.
Healthy eating and Vegan lifestyle involves eating a lot of nutrient dense whole foods.

Herb Garden

                        Pots and Planters
                               Flickr.com

Leafy greens are a great source of healthy food. Greens like spinach, lettuce, and arugula grow similarly as the herbs. You can buy them as seedlings, plant them, and use them as and when required. They can be harvested more than once. This is a particularly good time of the year to get started on your herb garden.

All you need are a few basic materials like some pots or planters, some potting soil that is specially used for pots and is easily available at any farmers markets (visit vegalyfe.com to know about one in Gurgaon), some seedlings to get you started again available at farmers markets, some natural fertilizers to reenergize your soil regularly, a trowel and a watering can but that is entirely optional. For me I love those cute little watering cans and cannot resist them. Buying seedlings is always a better option as they are more likely to grow up as healthy plants rather than if you try to do it all by yourself.

Make sure that your pots have proper holes for drainage so that your herbs don’t get waterlogged. The herbs should be properly spaced and not crowded together. Herbs like mint and oregano grow savagely and take over their surroundings. Make sure to give these kinds of plants their individual pot.

Basil is a great starter herb. It grows sturdily, requires little attention and produces handsomely. It can be used in various vegan food preparations as well. Herbs are different from other houseplants such that they require regular attention. Watering regularly keeping track of sunlight and wind conditions is an important part of growing an herb garden. Some other herbs that are easy to grow in home gardens are rosemary, cilantro and mint. Dill, Sage and Chives are also a good choice for your herb garden.

Scallions are easy to grow through their bulbs and can be used to liven up Chinese vegan food (stir fries); mushroom and scallion pasta sauce is also one of my favorites. You can trim the greens as required and the bulbs will go on producing.

Pruning also plays an important role in growing a healthy herb. Prune often to grow a sturdier plant. Be sure to prune wisely from the top, also leave the larger leaves at the bottom intact as they provide the required sunlight to your herb.

Growing a garden at home can be a very rewarding experience, if it does not take well this can turn into a frustrating experience in no time. The trick is to approach your herb garden in a planned manner. Get your equipment ready, read up on the herbs you want to grow, what kind of conditions do they require to be healthy and then shower them with love and affection. As a person with healthy and/ or vegan food choices this will be an enriching experience that will connect you to Mother Nature in no small way

An Ayurvedic Detox

Detox Tea

CCF Tea An Ayurvedic Detox Image byebyedoc.com

Here is an Ayurvedic Tea that I use at home. It is often recommended for stomach disorders. It aids in dealing with acidity and helps one feel lighter.

Ingredients (Buy locally grown organic ingredients, if possible)

1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds

This spice is known to help balance the three doshas and it has a cooling effect on the body because it helps to reduce the heat and acidic levels in the stomach. It is also an excellent spice that helps to reduce congestion and eases joint pains.

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

This is one of the spices that is used in most Indian cuisine because it promotes a better    digestive health. It also helps to cleanse and detox the body of toxins

1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

This spice is often eaten at the end of a meal to support digestion. It helps to calm the mind

11/2 liters room temperature water

Bring the water to a boil and add the spices to the it. Let it simmer for 5 more minutes and switch off the gas. Let the water with the spices stand for 10-15 minutes and your CCF tea is ready to be consumed.

Strain and store this in a flask. You can add a pinch of black salt to it while drinking. This really perks up the tea.

Hair Spray for School Going Children

Herbal Remedy for lice

Chemical Free Hair Spray Image Becomegorgeous.com

Hair spray for School going Children

 “Mama my head is itching,” these few word strikes terror in the heart of a mom of any school going child. Lice and dandruff are two hair conditions that occur due to close proximity of little heads chattering together. What happens, when there is a lice attack is not a pretty picture.  I remember the horrible smell of Lycil used when I was a school girl. Not to forget the impact such a treatment on the tender heads of your young ones. Pesticide based lice shampoos are dangerous. They can have harmful immediate and long term effects .The number of parents who choose not to use pesticide based shampoos is growing. These safety-conscious parents do not want to apply a pesticide to their child’s scalp, and have it absorbed into their blood and circulated throughout their bodies. Today I have a concoction for an easy to prepare hair spray that is a preventive step. It detangles the tresses of your child and maintains a lovely spicy smell throughout the day without causing any ill side effects.

Required

Clean spray bottle (Used is also fine)

Distilled water (200ml) easily available on any chemist shop

Essential oils

Lavender Oil 8 drops

Lavender oil is popularly known as a conditioner. There are various cosmetic products for hair that use the oil as an ingredient. Lice and nits do not like the smell of lavender. This oil not only hydrates or moisturizes, but it provides nourishment as well.

Tea tree Oil 4 Drops

This oil is extremely effective for hair and scalp treatment due to its antiseptic capabilities. Be it dandruff, split ends, fungal infection, itchy and other scalp concerns the Tea Tree Oil will give your scalp and hair a healthy treat.

Neem Oil 4 Drops

Neem oil relieves dry and itchy scalp, and  dandruff, as well as gives you silky, shiny and stronger hair. This oil has the highest concentration of Azadirachtin, the substance that’s responsible for its effect on insects and other parasites (like mites and lice).

Lemon oil 4 drops

 The benefits of lemon oil can be attributed to its astringent, detoxifying, antiseptic, disinfectant, and anti fungal properties.

Remember the ratio of oil to water is one is to ten. For every 10 ml. of water we are adding one drop of essential oil.  Lavender oil is mild oil that can be used on the skin directly without dilution thus the ratio of lavender oil is higher than the other oils.

These essential oils are available easily on online stores and have other applications as well. We will talk about them some other time. This one time investment will serve you well.

Heat the distilled water to warm. Pour the essential oils in the spray bottle. Mix in the warm distilled water. Close the lid securely. Shake and use after 3-4 hours. Can be used daily.

This really works I use it at home for my daughter and also supply the stock for her friends who simply love this easy to use and non-chemical hair spray.