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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.

5 Vegan Superfoods

Vegan Lifestyle is all about a holistic and encompassing lifestyle.  Ancient Cultures and civilizations all over the world have texts dedicated to healing. Vegans are against cruelty to animals in all streams of life. Chemical drugs manufactured by big companies are usually tested on lab animals like rats, guinea pigs and rabbits. These animals undergo horrible side effects that are a result of the trial and error methods employed in research.  Traditional cultures are a fount of treasure when it comes to holistic healing techniques. Though a more thorough and scientific study is required to point out the effects of these traditional products there is a lot of empirical evidence to prove their claims. These herbs and spices are by no means a replacement for Chemical drugs but they are a relatively side effect free lifestyle enhancements that contribute to your health. These products are most effective when they are of organic, natural and whole form.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon has a long history both as a spice and as a medicine. There are two varieties of cinnamon available in India one is Chinese known as “cassia” and the other is Ceylon. The Ceylon cinnamon is used widely for medicinal purposes as cassia might lead to stomach upset in some people. Cinnamon is a fantastic source of fiber, flavanols, calcium, iron, manganese, and powerful antioxidants. Cinnamon can be used topically and even added as a cooking spice.

Cinnamon vegan superfood

Cinnamon
                             Getty images

Cinnamon helps in fighting type 2 diabetes, prevents storage of fat which in turns leads to better heart health and also aids in weight loss.  Cinnamon is also known to boost brain function, aid in arthritis pain management and provides relief in cold and cough. It should be taken in moderation as excess intake can cause stomach problems.

Green Tea

Green tea (whole leaf) is the one of the healthiest drink on the planet. It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have amazing effects on the body. Green tea has been

Green Tea

Green Tea
                       kognozi.blogspot.com

used as a medicine for thousands of years. With the use of whole leaf one ensures having a less processed and more natural product with the nutrition and goodness intact. Whole leaf Green tea is more natural and unprocessed form of the plant therefore it has more benefits compared to black tea or the powdered version available readily in the market. It is full of polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins, which function as powerful antioxidants. These substances can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. The beneficial effects  of green tea includes  better brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer, regulation of blood sugar and other myriad benefits for skin and hair. Organically grown and minimally processed green teas are available in online vegan stores.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the planet. They are loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for your body and brain. One ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains, 11 grams fiber,  9 grams fat ,5 grams fat of which are omega 3’s, 4

Chia seeds

Chia Seeds
                  Wholespice.com

grams protein and sizeable percentage of  daily servings of manganese, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous. Chia seeds are whole grain, are usually grown organically, and are naturally gluten free. These tiny powerhouses are also loaded with Antioxidants. The Chia seeds are said to help in regulating blood sugar and blood pressure. They are a rich source of plant based protein and fat. They can be sprinkled whole on top of salads or toast or added ground to smoothies. In India the local version is easily available at affordable prices and is popularly known as “Sabza”.

Flax Seeds

Flax seeds have been around for the past 6000 years. They are most likely the ancestors

Flax Seeds

Flax Seeds
                              nuts.com

of all superfoods. Flax seeds aid digestion, improve skin quality, lower cholesterol, fight cancer and can help in weight loss. They are usually toasted and grinded for better absorption. Flax seed nutrition profile makes one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Flax seeds improve digestion; give clear skin, lower cholesterol, reduce sugar cravings, balance hormones, fight cancer and promote weight loss. Flaxseeds are the one of the richest sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Organic Flax seeds can be bought from vegan or specialty stores. They can be mixed with dough or sprinkled on salads and smoothies.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a staple in any Indian household. It has amazing antioxidant and anti-

turmeric

Turmeric
                         Getty Images

inflammatory properties. Turmeric is said to help in preventing cancer, reducing the risk of heart attack and strokes, combats inflammatory diseases, fights flu and cold and helps regulate blood sugar. Turmeric is also used in face packs to give a radiant complexion. Organically grown turmeric available in vegan stores is best for medicinal purposes.

These wonderful gifts of nature are our first step to fight and curtail the scourge of lifestyle diseases. These whole foods that are naturally obtained are largely chemical free. They are a rich addition to any diet including one for the natural food lovers and vegans and provide plant based nutrition. They must be included in any vegan diet to achieve perfect balance and nutrition.

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