Your Daily Grace

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Category: Health

Safe Practices of Essential Oils

Essential Oils are a hot topic right now. It seems like EVERYONE is buying them, selling them, or both. My sister first introduced me to essential oils probably, about 11 years ago. I felt they were expensive for such a tiny bottle so it took me a few years before I started purchasing them. And at the time, I had no clue on how to use them in my everyday life. I began buying them here and there to use in my homemade cleaning supplies but that was the extent of my usage. It wasn’t until, I would say probably about 5 years ago I really started to look into them for medicinal uses.

Why I started using Essential Oils

I feel the need to write this post because these companies are promoting unsafe practices. It really bothers me that many people are being led blindly. Many of the popular essential oil brands are advising MANY to use their oils unsafely. Why? I don’t know but one theory is it could possibly be so their consumers use the oils up faster which equivalents to more profit. Just a theory.   Some have paid the price for not being taught properly to to safely and effectively use essential oils. And not everyone experiences the side effects right away. It can come about after the oils accumulate that can cause sensitization.

Before I go on, I feel essential oils are beneficial to the body if used properly and safely.   About 8 years ago, I began learning about the harmful effects from chemicals, processed foods, etc. I decided to try to eliminate toxins from our home and food/water. During this time, natural cleaners were just beginning to catch on so they were not readily available. They were also generally very expensive. So I began to create my own cleaning supplies and of course, I wanted it to smell good. The natural alternative was *ding ding ding* essential oils. Another reason for my intrigue with essential oils was the biblical background. I honestly believe God’s medicine is far superior than man made medicine. Now on to the point of my post.

What is Neat?

Neat applying an essential oil without using a carrier oil. Basically, you take an undiluted essential oil and apply it directly to the skin. 99.9% of the time, you should not apply an essential oil neat. Peppermint seems like a pretty harmless essential oil since it is derived from peppermint. It takes about 16 pounds of peppermint to create an ounce of peppermint essential oil. While essential oils are natural, they are extremely potent. This is one of the main reasons you generally don’t want to apply the oil neat. If you have sensitive skin, even the oils that are generally safe, it is best to dilute the oils. Rule of thumb for children, always dilute.  Continue reading

All About Vitamix Blender and My Experience With It

The VitaMix blender is a great kitchen tool, but it is expensive, so it’s not a blender I recommend for everyone. In this review, I discuss why I bought the Vitamix blender, how I use it, what the pros and cons of the VitaMix are, and what you might buy instead of the VitaMix blender.

Plus, I’ll share a few of my favorite VitaMix recipes. First some background: As a food writer, I give all of my kitchen tools quite a workout. But I don’t use them all every day. And some are kitchen tools I wouldn’t own if it weren’t for my job.

By contrast, the VitaMix blender is something I bought originally just for me. Now, however, I find that I use this blender almost every day for everything from fruit smoothies to sauces.

That’s why for me, this was a low-cost investment (expensive yes, but on a per-use basis, it’s actually cheaper than my gravy boat, which gets used about once a year). Read on to see if the Vitamix 5200 is worth your money.

Reason for Buying a VitaMix Blender

Vitamix 5200

My no one reason for buying a VitaMix blender was making fruit smoothies. I probably make a fruit or vegetable smoothie at least 4 days a week. Plus, I am always creating new smoothie recipes in my work as a food writer. The secret to a great smoothie is using frozen fruit. Yes, you can add ice, but it will make the smoothie taste watered-down. The only way to get that frosty, milkshake-like texture is to use frozen fruit.

And despite what other blenders claim, they won’t crush frozen fruit well. Even the blenders with ice-crusher features don’t do the job. Because I was going through blenders at a rate of one every three months or so (and most didn’t work well when I had them), the VitaMix ended up being cheaper for me.

I’ve had my VitaMix blender for about 8 years and the motor has never burned out or slowed down, and it crushes anything I put in it, including whole oranges, perfectly.

How to use Vitamix blender

Ok, so making smoothies was my #1 reason for buying the VitaMix blender. But I have found that I use it for many kitchen jobs, just as the infomercial promises, including:

  • I use the VitaMix blender to puree soups, like my famous broccoli soup (I think it rivals the best restaurant broccoli cheese soups). This way, I don’t have to use cream to thicken my soups. Just pureeing the vegetables makes the soup thick and creamy, like a bisque.
  • I use it to make bread crumbs, graham cracker crumbs or crushed gingersnaps for my pumpkin cheesecake recipe. I also use it to make pretzel crumbs for my pretzel crusted chicken breasts. Takes just a second, and it’s so much cheaper than buying bread crumbs or crushed graham cracker crumbs.
  • I use the VitaMix when I need to blend something quickly, like the batter for my dutch baby pancake recipe. I can just dump all the ingredients in, blend in 2 seconds, and pour it into the pan to bake.
  • I use the VitaMix to make some sauces and salad dressings, but I think a food processor works better for some of these tasks

What I dislike about Vitamix Blender

The VitaMix commercials and web site would have you think you can throw out every other kitchen tool you have, because the VitaMix does everything from chopping onions to making peanut butter. While technically it may be possible to make those things in the VitaMix blender, I don’t recommend it.

For onions and vegetables, you won’t get a clean, even dice with the VitaMix. You’re more likely to get onion shreds or onion puree. I would prefer Blendtec blender for this. You can learn more about the difference between Blendtec and Vitamix blender here. Continue reading

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