Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Homemade food wrap

A recent study showed pizza boxes increased the risk of miscarriage x16.  The grease proofing is not wax (ok I show my age or ignorance) but a flourine polymer or a version of teflon.  It is also found in food wraps (eg burger wrappers) sports clothes and furniture.  It may resist water but absorbs into skin.  Another killer from Dupont. It is an endocrine disrupter and has an input in obesity and diabetes etc.
This adds to the chemical load in the home and contributes to our declining health.

This got me to thinking about food wrap and oven proof papers etc.  I found how to make home made food wrap and dish covers.  They are reusable and work out cheaper than buying plastic wrap.

Easy to make.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Homemade Chicken Stock with Carcasses

See my page on Recipes (to the right) for home-made Chicken Stock made from carcasses and why you should make your own.  It's more than health.

Homemade Ghee -1/4 the price

See my page on Recipes (to the right) for easy, inexpensive home-made Ghee.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Low Cost Good Quality Natural Soap Recipes

Low Cost Natural Soap Recipes

These are perfectly good natural soap recipes.  I will try and give a variety to cover different oils as price and availability vary according to location.

They wont be so bubbly as other recipes but still very good for your skin and superior to what you would buy at your local supermarket.

Tallow and Olive Soap
640gm  Beef Tallow (if you can get this free)
160gm  Olive Oil
107gm Lye (Sodium Hydroxide - Caustic Soda)
280gm Water

There is nothing wrong with beef tallow, it doesn't smell and is excellent for your skin.  The only reason not to use it is if its against your religion.  It is not an inferior oil to use.

Lard and Coconut Soap
704gm  Pig Lard
96gm  Coconut oil
111gm  Lye (Sodium Hydroxide - Caustic Soda)
280gm Water

Single Oil Soaps
These could be very cheap depending where you live and availability of oils.

Coconut Oil
800gm Coconut oil
117gm Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) 20% Super Fat (needed for conditioning on skin)
280gm Water
This is an excellent soap. It cleans really well and bubbles like nothing else.  Very good shampoo soap, shaving soap and just a nice soap.

800gm Pig Lard
108gm Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) 4% Super Fat
280gm  Water
This will be a very mild soap, with few bubbles but creamy.

Beef Tallow
 800gm  Beef Tallow
 107 gm  Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) 6% Super Fat
 280gm  Water
This is an all round good soap.  Moderate cleaning and bubbles but gentle and creamy.  The super fat is increased a little to compensate for the just under recommended conditioning level.

You can use Olive Oil as a single oil soap but I don't know where it would be exceptionally cheap.  Also it takes a long time to blend and a very long time to dry and harden.

Nice pets, nice to eat, nice to wear, but smelly soap.
Sheep Tallow would make a good laundry soap as it is higher in cleaning quality, but too low in conditioning for skin.  It isn't hard enough to have a high superfat to compensate for that.  It smells like sheep.

Use to make your own recipe.  It is an excellent resource.  For first time users, just work through the boxes.  There is a beginners guide to using it.  Read the instructions before jumping in.

While the charted "resulting characteristics" of the oils in soap is accurate, there is a little bit more to it and you can work with some characteristics outside of the range.  Eg, Using Coconut oil soap is too harsh on skin but by having a very high superfat it prevents the skin drying  It is not recommended you have such a high superfat with soaps under normal circumstance but it works with coconut oil because of its extreme hardness..
Another example is Olive Oil as a single oil or high percentage oil soap (Castile).  It doesn't have a particularly high hardening rate, but it will harden given enough cure time. It may take 6-12 months to stop it being slimy when wet but it will work and make a very nice soap, especially for sensitive skin.

Use your own herbs to make an oil infusion

Because most of these oils are solid, you could use a slow cooker or double boiler to melt your oils and gently warm them.  Thoroughly mix your finely cut herbs into the oil.

You can use fresh herbs, just make sure they are clean and dry.  For citrus peel, have as much of the white rind removed.  Rosemary and Lavender are good for you.  Try and use a 2-1 ratio, oil - herb.  Its not important so just use what you have.

Do not boil the oil, just keep it warm/hot up to 6 hours, then strain out your herb "bits".

If you have a tree or plant in your area known to be good for your skin, try that. An example is Birch bark.  It has many wonderful healing properties.

If you live where is is warm enough for you tallow to be liquid, I would be reluctant to do a cold infusion with tallow for 6 weeks as you may find your tallow goes rancid.  This would be fine to do with Olive and Coconut oil.

Cost Saving with Natural Soap and Homemade Products

You will save money making your own soap, even though cheap nasty soap from the shop is a similar price, but from your natural soap you can make many other products that do save money. Don't forget that cheap shop soap has fillers in it like talc, besides the chemicals.  Laundry detergents have also have fillers and this is what causes the build up of grime in your washing machine. Using natural soap, you'll never have to buy shampoo or conditioner again and will reduce the need for products for dry skin and allergies and acne.  If you still need some of those then make your own and get a cheaper and healthier product.

If you end up making liquid soap (which isn't so hard) you will save a lot of money on shampoo, hand wash, body wash and what ever else wash they sell (even though its washing the same body - its just marketing).

Always remember that advertising is marketing.  This term was given to us by Freud's nephew who used it instead of the word, propaganda.

You can make your own and make it better.  To increase cost effectiveness of making your own products there are a few things you can do.

Making soap, you can tailor your recipe to the oils that are the cheapest in your area.  I can get free beef fat from my local butcher (I do give them soap) and render it.  It's not my favourite job but I do have the time.

You can save fat from meat that you buy and cook and freeze it till you have enough to render.  Keep each different animal fat separate as they have different saponification values.
*Just note (for any New Zealanders) that Sheep Tallow soap still has a noticeable "sheep" smell.  It would make a good laundry soap as it has a higher cleaning quality, especially with something like Eucalyptus oil in it.

Wait till olive oil is on 'special' as it keeps well.

Castor oil is not so cheap but its not essential. I buy mine in bulk to lower the cost. Bubbles are nice but are not everything and a little bit of milk and/or honey will increase the bubbles.  If you use Lard or Tallow the conditioning will be fine.  Putting a spoon of honey in the soap batter will increase the bubbles and be very good for your skin.  If you have a cheap/free source of milk, make a milk soap and this will also increase the bubbles and be good for the skin.

Buying bulk is one way I can reduce my costs.  Because I am not sure I would use some of my ingredients within the shelf life, I have found a few friends who are interested some of the different products and we share the cost of bulk purchases.  Mostly its with Essential oils as there is a large saving in bulk purchases with these. I have just received 5 litres of Eucalyptus oil. I buy Lavender oil a litre at a time.

I don't run a business but do make soap for friends for cost price, so while I don't have a large output, it is a lot more than my family would use.  If you are a person that is going to give a lot away maybe you should try selling some to neighbours or associates to recuperate some costs.

Grow your own herbs and do oil infusions.  Use Basil, Rosemary, Lavender, Oregano, Lemon Grass or what ever other beneficial plant that grows well in your climate.  You can dry them or use them fresh, so long as they are clean and dry from water.  Use a sterile jar.  Heat you oil and pour over them so no vegetation is above the oil and seal/cover.  You can keep it in a warm place for 4 -6 weeks but out of the sun.  Just make sure you don't use anything that may give allergies (ginger is nice to eat but some people don't tolerate it on their skin very well).  You can use dried herbs.

If you grow Aloe Vera add it to your soap.  Do a bit of research how to deal with it first.

While some products or home-made remedies may be more expensive to make than to buy don't forget that the same alternative treatment may require a prescription and cost you a doctors visit.

If you live in an apartment and don't have garden space, try window boxes or hanging baskets for herbs.  Dry them and save them till you have enough to use.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Natural Shampoo Bar Soap

Shampoo bar soap works very well,  is a lot better for you and is very economical.  This is where making your own soap saves you a lot of money and frustration (shampoos that don't perform).
It's not as complicated as some natural soap outlets would have you think as it is a rebranded natural bar soap with the recipe tweeked to give it more lather.  The special nourishing oils that people advertise for shampoo soap are the same nourishing oils use to make natural soap. While it is good, to make it seem particularly different from any other natural soap is an illusion - one that entices you to spend more money on something you may not have needed.

You can use any natural soap, however we do like lots of lather.  Bubbles don't clean, they just make us feel good in our minds.  An exceptionally hard bar (economical) may be take longer to spread the soap over long hair. A very soft bar will waste quickly.

Using a natural soap recipe, we can now individualise it to your needs.
Dry hair, increase the super fat or free oil in the soap recipe.
Oily hair reduce this.
Dandruff and scalp conditions, choose Essential Oils that are known to help these conditions.  See the end of this post for a specific anti-dandruff shampoo.

Vinegar or Citric Acid Rinse
If you don't rinse your hair in an acidic conditioner you probably will end up with hair that feels like straw.  The benefits of rinsing are less tangles and my hair doesn't get oily the next day.  Having long hair I don't want to wash it every day.  It may be individual how strong you make this.  Vary it till you are happy with the result.  50/50 vinegar/water works.
Vinegar smells when you rinse but not when it dries.  Citric acid doesn't not smell.  I keep a spray bottle in the shower for the final rinse.
If you like pretty smells there is no reason why you can't mist your hair with an Essential Oil after you have washed it.

See my September posts for directions on making soap if you have never done this before.

Coconut Oil Soapawesome lather
800gm Coconut oil
117gm Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) 20% Super Fat
280gm Filtered or distilled water.

24gm Essential Oils of choice.
(I use 16gm Lavender and 8 Lemon Myrtle - but you could use Lemon Balm or Lemon Grass with similar effect and smell)

Coconut oil soap is normally a very strong cleaning, but drying soap.  With the super fat so high it offsets the drying.  Normally you could not use a super fat so high (the soap would become a oily blob) with a standard recipe but the extreme hardness of the coconut soap allows for this.
It should not become rancid with such a high superfat very quickly as coconut oil has a long shelf life.

There are two more recipes in my Septembers blog, Tips and Recipes that have a good lather.  The higher the castor oil (15%) which helps create lather has its draw back in that it doesn't tolerate sitting in water very well and will waste (dissolve) if you don't care for it.

If you have very dry hair and the Coconut Oil soap is drying, try the recipe:  A Very Good Soap (Septembers blog)and add a further 30gm of Olive Oil once the soap has reached trace.  This will bring the super fat up to 8%.  I like to use this as a milk soap for my shampoo.

Many people who changed from commercial shampoos to natural soap have found their heads stopped itching. Some don't have the oil problems they had and experience far less scalp problems - which can be treated naturally.

You may find it takes a little while for your oil secretions to settle down after changing from shampoo.

Shampoos and conditioners cost a lot of money over the year, are full of chemicals and create problems that send you to buy more expensive shampoos to fix.

I have read that natural soap as shampoo doesn't affect the dyes and bleaches people use on their hair and they done't have to get them redone so quickly if they use the acidic final rinse.  This is far better as the less you re do this the better as bleaches and dyes have strong links to miscarriage amongst other problems.

For an excellent natural anti-dandruff shampoo see my April 2016 post.  Inexpensive and effective.

Solid Anti-dandruff Bar plan
I am making a solid bar soap with a higher level of honey and essential oils such as Melaluca (Tea Tree), Clove, Lemon Grass or Lemon Myrtle and Lavender which are all good anti-fungal's.

Two Tablespoons of honey per kg of oil is usually quite a high level and the mould will need to be put in the freezer while it hardens to stop it over heating.  I will try a higher level (4 Tablespoons) of honey in a harder bar recipe and use individual bar moulds (helps cooling) and freeze.  I will use cold process and only about 30% water, adding the honey at trace.

If this works it will be more convenient as my husband has problems with shampoo bottle lids since a head injury slowed his left hand down.

Will keep you updated

As soon as I added the honey, EO's the soap batter became a strong orangey colour. I put the moulds in the freezer as soon as I had filled them.  They had become quite hot, quickly.  I sat them on cooler packs so it was colder quicker and left them over night.  They have been slower to harden up but have become a light brown/creamy colour.  Otherwise they are behaving like normal soap thus far.
I think I would put them in the fridge on cooler packs next time as the individual bar moulds wont hold the heat like a log mould.
A week later.  It took a few days for the pH to drop which I think is a result of freezing it.  It also took longer to harden up but after a week + my sample bar is firm and bubbly.

Using Lye in Soap Making

Lye, whether it be Caustic Soda (Sodium Hydroxide) or Potash (Potassium Hydroxide) is one of two essential ingredients in soap making.  The misunderstanding about lye, lays in the ignorance of the chemical process that creates soap.

In well made soap, is there any lye?  No.
Was lye used to make it? Yes.

If anyone tells you no lye was used, they either have detergent (petrochemical) or soap nuts etc, but they don't have soap.  That it is not listed in the ingredients of soap is not saying it was not used.

It is impossible to make soap without lye.  Soap is the result of a chemical reaction called saponification between fats/oils and lye.  The fatty acids combine with the strong alkaline of lye to form glycerine and salts of particular fatty acids and alkaline used.  This forms a molecule that has one end fat loving and the other water loving. This allows the water to break through the tension of the oily grime, breaking it up and allowing for it to rinse off.

Charts give a precise amounts of lye needed for each oil so complete saponification occurs without excess lye remaining in the soap. In natural soap making a small excess of oil is used and this will not be changed into soap but remain as free oil in the soap.  This is one of the benefits of natural soap as it remains on the skin for conditioning.

Great grandma's soap may have been harsh.  This was simply because it was difficult to get an exact concentration of homemade lye and perhaps a lack of understanding in how to fine tune the process.  Even in history, soap makers got it right without the benefits of calculators and litmus paper.

Both lye's are highly caustic and caution is needed when handling them.  Rubber/plastic gloves are a must, glasses also.  Even when it is mixed into the oils, the batter is still highly caustic and will burn. I have some pitting on the concrete floor in the shed from soap batter that spilled. As the lye and oil molecules come into contact with each other they change.

My pseudonym, "No Lye" is a play on words, not an ingredient in my soap.  I have had several batches of soap turn out with lye present but they are all tested and those were fixed. No lie.

I have seen experts insist non professionals should not attempt soap making. They are protecting business not people.

Some make a mistake and get scared and now are fear driven to save us all from their mistake. Or one person has an allergy and tries to prevent everyone else from a good thing.

I have seen partial information given with the curious logic that people may try it if all the information is given and hurt themselves.  Personally I think this attitude will lead to more mistakes because now we all have to reinvent the wheel.  This was the strength of guilds that held secret knowledge while common people were left to struggle on without or with inferior products.

This was the same attitude that kept the world in darkness by withholding the Bible from the people through the dark ages.  The establishment argued that the unlearned would do harm with this knowledge (even though priests had been slaughtering their way through Europe for hundreds of years, Cardinals had been poisoning off rivals, and rape and pillage was all done in the name of God).  Yes there is hypocrisy such as infamous TV evangelists sucking up the peoples money(now where did they learn that?).  None the less, knowledge has brought liberty to those who genuinely seek.

The withholding of knowledge allows a minority to control the majority.

If you burn yourself with the Lye you have to take the responsibility for that but there is no reason why you can't end up with a superior soap than what you can buy at the shop (most of that is not soap as the glycerine has been extracted and chemicals added to make up the loss).

So lye, love or hate it you have to have it to make any soap.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Homemade Cough/Sore Throat Gummies

I would ignorantly carry Halls cough drops when I had a sore throat. That was till I found that Halls is one on a list of companies that use HEK, or Human Embryonic Kidney.  People can argue over the pathetic details that you are not actually eating the aborted baby, but cells grown from it.  Step back and look at the big picture.  Who thought of growing taste enhancers from baby kidney?  Who sold dead baby parts (OK so we know Planned Parenthood do)?  And if eating baby product doesn't touch your conscience (God help you) surely you must wonder what are these companies (like Pepsi, Cadburies, Nestles, Gatorade etc) are doing to the food since it doesn't have to be labelled. To use these products shows that these food producers have no conscience or moral compass so they would do anything for money while they can get away with it. You should be worried about that because if harvesting babies doesn't bother you, I know that you are not praying for the food (and if you are, God doesn't do hypocrisy), that God will cleanse it.

I read about people making their own cough drops, but this involved boiling sugar or a mix of honey/sugar.  Boiling the honey would cause beneficial nutrients to be lost from it so I passed by that one.  I saw a recipe for home-made vitamin C gummy bears and figured I could do the same for cough lozenges.

I have had the beginnings of a sore throat but they came to nothing since I made these.  My husband has used them with the same result.  Other than that I can't say much, except that all of these ingredients are known to be excellent for throat infections.

Honey Gummy
400gm   Honey (the darker it is the higher the antibiotic effect)
50gm     Molasses (just because its good and I can't taste it this way)
10 drops Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil (the benefits of Tea Tree but far stronger)
4 drops   Eucalyptus Oil
4 drops   Peppermint Oil
100gm   Gelatine
120gm   Cold Filtered Water

Soak the gelatine in the cold water and allow it to swell.
Mix the honey, and other ingredients well.  Because of our climate the honey is often very runny, but it would pay to warm it slightly to make it less viscose if it is thick or solid.
When the gelatine has absorbed the water, warm it gently in a pot to liquefy it and add the honey mix.  Stir in well.  Pour into a container lined with plastic wrap and cool it in the fridge or freezer.
When it is solid remove from container, pulling off the wrap and cut into pieces with scissors.
This will remain jelled at room temperature.  Store in fridge.

I have added a little coconut oil to make it more soothing but I would recommend that you cool it in the freezer to solidify it quickly as the coconut oil will separate while it is liquid.

If you can afford it and want an extra punch use Manuka Honey.  I have had tonsillitis completely gone in 3 days using Manuka Honey.  The worst of the pain was gone by the end of the first day, the swelling by the second and the ulceration by the third.

Manuka honey is expensive but compare it to going to the doctor plus the prescription.  Then there is the petrol cost and time as well as the possibility of gastro trouble with antibiotics.