Category Archives: Lifestyle

Deodorant Detox!

Deodorant Detox!

Written by Denae

Have you wanted to take the plunge from conventional deodorants but every time you try you just stink yourself out? EO Products, a wonderful organic & natural company, has dedicated their 2017 to helping everyone willing to take the challenge! Not only have they provided enlightening information like, “…there can be a transition period (up to 30 days) where body odor can actually increase…? but they have even perfected the list of must-have’s as you begin your transition. 

EO Certified Organic Deodorant Spray
EO Natural Deodorant Wipes
EO Bubble Bath
EO Salt Soak
EO Ageless Moroccan Lava Clay

Those last three – the ones that have nothing to do with armpits, are to help you relax. Detoxing is stressful, especially if you don’t know how your experience will be. However, that added stress can create more body odor, which will turn in to a stinky cycle of stressing about body odor, creating more body odor, creating more stress. So pick up some bath salts and relax a little!

Committing to a detox might sound scary, but hey, at least it’s not a juice cleanse and you get to eat still! When you start your detox adventure, make sure you drink LOTS of water. And although you are eating, here are some foods to stay away from that can increase your body odor:

Cruciferous Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, etc)
Junk Food
Red Meat
Spicy Food

Checkout EO’s amazing write-up about their 30 Day Challenge!

Below is your personal detox calendar that you can print off, post, and proudly mark off each day as you detox your body from phthalates and aluminum. 




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bliss+point, food+giants, salt+sugar+fat, michael+moss, junk+food, obesity+epidemic, food+addiction

Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

This is Eye-Opening

There has been a great deal of press recently about how the big food industry has used unhealthy ingredients to hook us on processed foods.  New York Times Reporter Michael Moss has written a book called Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.
He was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air on Tuesday, Feb 26.  It was an eye-opener!

So I downloaded the ebook


Now, I don’t know how many pages the printed book had, but the e-book was substantial.  It has taken me a while to read it!  There was a lot to absorb.

We All Know There’s Too Much Salt, Sugar, and Fat in Our Diets, Right?

Well, Michael Moss tackles the “Why” of that statement.
He went inside the Processed Food Industry–interviewed the executives, the scientists, the marketing people–to get the real picture of how we got where we are.  
As early as 1999, the Processed Food Industry has been aware of the “emerging epidemic of obesity,” and wondered how it would affect their industry.  Several experts were pointing fingers directly at the Industrial Food Manufacturers.  The Chair of Harvard’s Department of Nutrition, Walter Willett, said, “The transition of food to being an industrial product really has been a fundamental problem.  First, the actual processing has stripped away the nutritional value of the food.  Most of the grains have been converted to starches.  We have sugar in concentrated form, and many of the fats have been concentrated and then, worst of all, hydrogenated, which creates trans-fatty acids with very adverse effects on health” (from the Prologue, “The Company Jewels”).  Some in the industry were willing to talk about instituting self-imposed, industry-wide limits on salt, sugar, and fat in their products.  Some wanted to be a part of the solution to the increasing problem of obesity.  

But the Big Guys Weren’t Receptive.

And since then, Industrial Food has just gotten saltier, sweeter, and more fatty.

Moss tackles the three big culprits–salt, sugar, and fat in three parts of his book. 

First, Sugar

Biology, Cravings, Convenience–all play a part in sugar’s allure.  I learned a new term–“Bliss Point.”  It’s that point of sweetness that leaves us blissfully content, but before we say it’s too sweet and stop eating.  And it is, dare I say it, addictive.  We come back to it again and again and again.  It’s our biology.  Moss learned that “the entire mouth goes crazy for sugar, including the upper reaches known as the palate.  There are special receptors for sweetness in every one of the mouth’s ten thousand taste buds, and they are all hooked up, one way or another, to the parts of the brain known as the pleasure zones, where we get rewarded for stoking our bodies with energy….  Sugar not only makes the taste of food and drink irresistible.  The industry has learned that it can also be used to pull of a string of manufacturing miracles, from donuts that fry up bigger to bread that won’t go stale to cereal that is toasty-brown and fluffy.  All of this has made sugar a go-to ingredient in processed foods.  On average, we consume 71 pounds of caloric sweeteners each year.  That’s 22 teaspoons of sugar, per person, per day” (Chapter 1).


On the other hand, we don’t have a bliss point for fat.  We just love it.  We can’t get too much.  Our bodies do not say we’ve hard enough fat–that we’re sick of it and it’s just too much.  Our bodies always want it, and want more and more.  And it’s magic–it “turns listless chips into crunchy marvels, parched breads into silky loaves, drab lunchmeat into savory delicatessen.  Like sugar, some types of fat furnish processed foods with one of their most fundamental requirements: the capacity to sit on the grocery store shelf for days or months at a time.  Fat also gives cookies more bulk and a firmer texture.  It substitutes for water in lending tenderness and mouthfeel to crackers.  It lessens the rubbery texture in hot dogs, deepens their color, keeps them from sticking to the grill….  It can mask and convey other flavors in foods, all at the same time….As I spoke with scientists about the way fat behaves, I couldn’t resist drawing an analogy to the realm of narcotics.  If sugar in the methamphetamine of processed food ingredients, with its high speed, blunt assault on our brains, then fat is the opiate, a smooth operator whose effects are less obvious but no less powerful” (Chapter 7).


Salt also can be tasted all through the mouth and even into the gut.  But we don’t have a natural desire for salt.  Babies do not like it, and have to be coaxed to eat foods that contain salt.  But once they get used to it, they are hooked.  That’s something that the Processed Food Industry has done well–coaxed us to eat foods full of salt.  The industry uses a staggering 5 billions pounds of salt per year.  Moss learned that not only can salt excite the taste buds, it “is the great fixer.  It corrects myriad problems that arise as a matter of course in the factory.  Cornflakes, for example , taste metallic without it.  Crackers are bitter and soggy and stick to the roof of your mouth.  Ham turns so rubbery it can bounce.  Some of salt’s power has nothing to do with the food at all.  In commercial bread making, salt keeps the huge, fast-spinning machinery from gumming up and the factory line from backing up: Salt slows down the rising process so that the ovens can keep up with the pace” (Chapter 12).  Salt also covers up all kinds of bad tastes associated with reheating foods, especially meats, a staple of processed foods.  

But It’s Not All About Salt, Sugar, and Fat.
Yes, it’s about Washington, too.  Subsidies to corn and dairy farmers have made the raw materials for processed foods really cheap.  So the industry keep adding more and more to their products, and the government keeps subsidizing our overeating.  
What crops should we be subsidizing, if any?
Did you know that the US Government will buy any excess milk or cheese that the Dairy Industry overproduces?  So when people switched to low- or non-fat milk, all of that excess cream went into thousands of pounds of cheese, which the government bought.  Have you noticed a big increase in consumption of cheese?  There is a lot of it in many products that didn’t have cheese in them–or much of it–20 years ago.
Moss concludes by saying that the processed food giants will not be giving up salt, sugar, or fat without a major fight.  If one product comes under fire for having too much of the big three, they will come up with healthier-sounding products to lure the customers in, but often are not healthier than the original product.  They look at their industry as making food affordable.  But some have a different view: “They argue that the low cost of processed foods has been thwarting the development of healthier ways of feeding the world” (Epilogue).

The Bottom Line:

As I read this book I came away with eyes opened wider to a processed food industry that has engineered foods “to maximize their allure.”  I came away with a determination to buy and eat as little processed food as possible.  Pay more attention to ingredients, and make sure they are healthy and in healthy amounts.  Cook from scratch.  Resist the siren-song of excess salt, sugar, and fat.  Buy and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.  Keep sweet treats just that–treats, not every-waking-hour snacks., Lassen's, Lassens, Organic+Broccoli
If we have to subsidize crops, shouldn’t we subsidize healthier options, like broccoli?

I found this book to be very enlightening.  It made me very grateful for the options that we have to buy and eat healthy, organic, fresh, un-processed foods.  

So let’s eat more unprocessed foods!  
sewing+tutorial, beach+blanket, best+beach+blanket, jeans+blanket, reuse+old+jeans

The Best Beach Blanket in the World

That Might Be a Little Over the Top…

Written by Gayle, Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket+, denim+blanket, up+cycle
In April I wrote the post called Earth Day Every Day.  I mentioned several things that we can do to take better care of our beautiful earth.  And now that summer is upon us, I thought I’d do a Jeans Blanket tutorial for those of you who would like to reuse your old denim jeans.  If you have a sewing machine and the ability to sew a straight seam, you can make this blanket!  And it really is the best beach blanket in the world!  The sand just shakes off.  Everyone on the beach will be totally jealous!

First, you have to cut your squares, Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle

The easiest thing is to use a self-healing mat and a rotary cutter, but if you don’t have that, just cut squares with scissors. Before I had a mat and cutter, I made square cardboard tempates and then used a marker to draw the square on the denim, and then cut them with scissors., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


It’s really important the the square are equal and even.  I used 8″ squares for this blanket, but you can use whatever you’ve got., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


I just collect jeans for quite a while until I have enough to make a blanket.  You can see that I made sure I cut the squares in line with the lines of the fabric.  Make sure you do this, otherwise the squares will stretch where they shouldn’t., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle

Decide Your Size, and Arrange the Squares, Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle
I had lots of squares of a fairly lightweight denim, so I decided to make a larger blanket this time–seven squares by nine squares.  I usually do six by eight.  I like to alternate dark and light, and throw a few pockets in the mix, too.

Start Patching the Squares Together, Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle
I like to leave the squares on the floor and just pick them one at a time to pin them together.  Pin and then sew.  Sew a whole row together in either direction., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


This first row is pinned together.  Then sew all of the seams., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


I sew all of the rows together first., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


The seams in all of these rows have also been ironed open., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle

Time to Sew the Rows!, Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle
Pin two rows together, with the seams matching.  Keep the seams open, as ironed, as you sew the rows together., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


It should look like this., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


Iron the seams open after each seam sewed., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


This is the back after all of the rows are sewn together and ironed.

Now the Tricky Part., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle
For the back of my blanket I used a piece of fabric that I had lying around in my fabric stash.  Because my blanket is a little larger, I had to piece two widths of fabric together, but when I do a smaller blanket I can just use a single width of 44-45″ fabric for the back., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


Lay your backing fabric, right side down, on the floor.  Smooth it out, and then lay the denim patchwork piece on top of it, right side up.  If you have someone to help you hold everything smooth and straight, that will help.  But just make sure there are no wrinkles on either the top or the bottom.  Make sure the backing fabric is about about 1&1/2 to 2 inches wider than the denim patchwork piece on all sides., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


Then start pinning with large safety pins (you can find these in fabric stores in the quilting department.) I pin in the middle of the squares, not at the junctions, since that is where I sew the back and the front together., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


It takes a lot of pins!, Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


Pin all the way to the edge, too., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle

Now You Can Do Some Machine Quilting!

This is the easiest machine quilting in the world.  Straight stitches–making an “X” over each square.  Start in a corner and just sew straight across all of the squares.  One exception:  the squares with pockets.  I always sew around the pockets so that I can stash my lip balm or a granola bar in them, if I wish!, Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


Keep the pins on until you are completely finished doing the machine quilting., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


I do not have a long-arm sewing machine, so I just roll up the excess blanket on the right side to fit the through the machine as I sew the lines.  Make sure you hold the fabric firmly so that you don’t get any puckers in the seams., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


When you get to the end of the line, just make a right turn and start another diagonal line., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


And if your lines aren’t straight, who cares?  The straight-line police won’t confiscate your blanket, I promise!  (And the lines will look a lot better after the quilting fairies come at night and straighten everything out.)  When every square has an “X” sewn on it, remove all of the pins., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle

Now for the Edge…, Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle
Fold the edge of your backing fabric around the edge of the denim evenly and pin.  Start sewing right next to the left edge of the turned piece., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle

OK, Now the Corners.

Again, not as hard as they seem.  First, fold and then pin the backing fabric like this., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


You can see that the denim is not folded at all, but the backing fabric is folded right at that corner., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


Then fold the two edges right up into that corner.  You may have to play with it a little to get it right, but if you keep the first folds (to the corner) flat and straight, this will be easier., Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


Again, if it’s not quite perfect, so what?, Lassen's, Lassens, jeans+blanket, denim+blanket, up+cycle


Here is the completed blanket–ready for the beach or the park, or anyplace you want a sturdy, easy to clean blanket.  You know it will wash well, too!  These make great gifts, so stop throwing those old holey jeans in the trash, and start cutting denim squares!  No more old jeans in the landfill!
Have a great summer!
moss+botanicals, essential+oils, focus+on+local, local+products, produced+in+Ojai, Ventura+County+products

Focus on Local–Moss Botanicals

Natural Aid for Our Well Being 

Last week I had a delightful time as I met Stacey Moss of Moss Botanicals.  She lives and works in Ojai.  Her company has seven aromatic blends, each available in a roll-on oil for the skin, and an aroma mist for diffusing into the air., Lassen's, Lassens, Moss+Botanicals

Stacey has always been interested in the field of healing, and has dabbled in herbology.  She took lots of classes in natural healing.  She has some Native American heritage (Lakota), and she has always been fascinated by their belief in natural remedies and cooperative society.  Stacey attended the College of Botanical Healing Arts in Santa Cruz, and is a registered Aromatherapist.  She also has a BA in Social and Behavioral Sciences., Lassen's, Lassens, Moss+Botanicals, Aromatherapy

Stacey loves plants and herbs, especially natives.  She started to blend her oils for her own personal needs, and soon was sharing them with family and friends.  They started to call her “Medicine Woman” because they could see the benefits of her botanical oil blends.  She launched Moss Botanicals in 2008 as a hobby, but within the last year has started to branch out more., Lassen's, Lassens, Moss+Botanicals, Aromatherapy

Educating people about the science and art of Aromatherapy is important to Stacey.  She wants to teach people that Aromatherapy is complementary to every kind of lifestyle.  Her blends have names that match what they support in our bodies and lives, but she said that people should see how each blend feels to them as they use them.  Her blends are Ceremony, Balance, Transform, Clear, Relax, Euphoric, and Let Go., Lassen's, Lassens, Moss+Botanicals, Aromatherapy

Stacey’s blends are complementary to Hindu Yogic Chakras as well.  Stacey said they can help balance and harmonize the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of life.  

Stacey is very careful with the sources of her oils.  She makes sure that they are organic and chemical free, and they are blended in a base of pure jojoba oil.  There are no synthetics or preservatives.  Her blends are simple–from 3-5 oils–and are hand blended in small batches.  She would like to try her hand at distilling the oils herself, and is working on making that happen., Lassen's, Lassens, Moss+Botanicals, Aromatherapy

Stacey loves this field because there is always something new to learn.  The science and scientific evidence is growing each year, which is very exciting. 

Stacey said, “I want people to find these [aromatic blends] because of what they can do to help them.”
It was such a pleasure to meet Stacey and her daughter Clrallyn, who even drew a portrait of me as I talked with Stacey!, Lassen's, Lassens, Moss+Botanicals, Aromatherapy

You can find Moss Botanicals in our Ventura store, and Stacey comes there regularly to introduce her botanical blends.  

Thank you Stacey, for a wonderful time!
Jamie+oliver, food+revolution, ted+talk

“I Wish For Everyone…”

Obesity Hurts Everyone

“I wish for everone to help create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”


This is Jamie Oliver, an English Chef.  He has started a “food revolution” to change the way we Americans — and the world — eat.  For his efforts he was given a TED Wish Prize.
I listened to his TED talk from 2010, when he was awarded his Prize.  He begins his talk with this shocking statistic:  “In the next 18 minutes… four Americans will be dead from the food they eat.”
Mr. Oliver talks about the power of food, and the awful reality that our children will have a ten-year-shorter life-span than we do because of the food landscape that has been built around them.  Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.  Diet-related diseases are the biggest killers in America, and that trend is spreading around the globe.  Those diseases cost $150 billion per year in America to treat, and those costs are growing.


Mr. Oliver speaks of the food landscape as a triangle–Main Street, School, and Home.
First, Main Street.  This is primarily made up of fast food businesses and supermarkets.


He would like to make sure these industries, who have actively worked to get our society addicted to salt, sugar, and fat, turn things around and wean us off of those things.  He advocates government and industry working together.  He also has an interesting idea about the role supermarkets should play.


Mr. Oliver calls for a “Food Ambassador” in every supermarket to teach consumers how to shop, how to cook simply and easily, and how to change the unhealthy habits of Americans.  Unfortunately, what we see now in markets are “sample ambassadors” of convenience products chock-full of salt, sugar, and fat.  He also is a very big advocate of helpful, informative labelling of all products.
Mr. Oliver talks of the huge need for our schools to not only provide much more healthy breakfasts and lunches for our children who eat at school, but for the schools to be food educators.  He says, “We have got to start teaching our kids about food in schools.”  He suggests that every child should learn how to cook at least 10 recipes from fresh, local ingredients before they graduate from school.



Wouldn’t this be great for school lunches?  Unfortunately, most school meals are not prepared and cooked at the school–everything is just reheated fast food.



And then there is the chocolate milk!  Mr. Oliver poured out a wheelbarrow full of sugar cubes, which equals the amount of sugar a child would consume by drinking just two cartons of chocolate milk each school day over 5 years of school.  


He also talks about getting communities involved through providing free cooking lessons, organizing farm to school programs, and community gardens.  Businesses should support these programs, as well as making healthy food available for their employees, rather than just standard vending machine fare.
And then there is the third part of the triangle, home.  Mr. Oliver advocates going back to cooking more at home and especially to teaching children how to make fresh, healthy meals.  


It takes a little more thought and planning, but I think Jamie Oliver’s vision for a healthier American is within reach.  What will you do this week to combat the obesity epidemic in America?
This link will take you to the 19-minute TED talk from Mr. Oliver.
At Lassen’s we try to encourage healthy eating and cooking.  Keep watching for recipes and specials in this place!
womens+voices+from+the+earth, earth+friendly, clean+products

Let’s Give the Earth… and our families… some help

What Can I Do?

When I was in elementary school, we lived in the middle of a valley with, I am sure, millions of fruit trees in Washington.  Every Spring day, the farmers watched the weather reports and the frost warnings and the dew point forecasts for any hint of dipping temperatures.  Once the fruit trees started to bud, they were in danger of being frozen, and the entire crop could be lost. 

In the late 60s there were not many environmental regulations, and the orchardists put out their smudge pots (yes, that’s the correct name!) and on evenings–actually early mornings–when there was a threat of freezing temperatures they would burn any- and everything to keep those trees from freezing. 

I’m pretty sure that they even burned old tires, because we had a horrible residue to deal with every Spring in Yakima, Washington.  When we got to school after a night of burning smudge pots, we had to wipe the black soot off of every surface–desks, chairs, tables.  (And there was a bit of a disgusting thrill in blowing your nose after walking to school through the smudge!)

The air was thick with the soot and the smell. 

Thankfully, we now have environmental regulation and rules limiting such practices.  But our environment still has a lot of threats.  I recently came upon a grass-roots organization that is working to combat, one small step and one person at a time, the toxins and threats to a healthy environment.

They are called Women’s Voices for the Earth.  They are an organization that “works to eliminate toxic chemicals that harm women’s health by changing consumer behaviors, corporate practices and government policies” (from their website, found here.)

I love their approach.  In 1995, a group of women in Missoula, Montana, formed Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE).  For the first ten years, they provided technical assistance to women fighting local polluting facilities.  Then they expanded to regional and national concerns.  Now they are working to eliminate toxic chemicals “that may be contributors to breast cancer, birth defects, asthma, infertility, learning disabilities, children’s cancers and other illnesses” (from the “History and Accomplishments” section of their website.)  In 2007, they prompted industries to establish a voluntary ingredient communication plan.  They’ve been able to persuade cosmetic companies to remove many of the toxic chemicals in beauty products.

So they lobby corporations to change formulations, label ingredients, and be more environmentally responsible. 

You can read about many of their governmental and corporate efforts here.  They were able to help persuade the makers of Tide detergent to reformulate their product to reduce the level on one of its chemicals, 1,4 dioxane,which is a carcinogen.  And they’ve worked to introduce bills in both state and federal legislature that will reduce and eliminate chemical usage.

They also encourage everybody to get involved by eliminating toxic chemicals from their homes.  They have a kit for throwing your own “Green Cleaning Party” to learn about the common chemicals in our cleaning products, and how to make your own.  You can find the kit here.

You can also host a Green Momma Party by downloading their party guide.

Women’s Voices for the Earth makes reducing and eventually eliminating toxic chemicals seem doable.  And it makes it fun, too!

It was just such grass-roots movements that have cleaned up the air in my old stomping grounds in the orchards of Washington.  People spoke up.  Pressure was applied to corporations and legislators. 

We can help clean up our environment, and our health, too.

Happily kicking-off-Earth-Day week!



earth+day+every+day, earth+day, up+cycle, earth+friendly

Earth Day Every Day

When You Really Think About It, Every Day Should Be Earth Day!

earth+day, Mammoth+Mountain

 We just got back from a few days at Mammoth.

earth+day, Mammoth+Mountain
Yeah, that’s me.  About to ski down an “Experts Only” run.

But I digress.  

We love going to Mammoth.  The fresh air.  The beautiful mountain.  The time to just watch the snow.
earth+day, Mammoth+mountain
Even the time to play some games.  (Can you believe the luck on this hand of Phase 10?)

But there is one thing that really bugs me about Mammoth.  

They do not have curb-side recycling.  
So all of the bottles and cans and papers that I would normally recycle end up in the landfill, unless I want to haul them home, which I have been known to do.

Isn’t This Disgusting?

I was raised by Depression-era parents (both born in the 1920’s) so our motto was “Waste not, Want not,” and we didn’t waste a thing.  We ate every left over–mostly remade into the next night’s dinner, we never bought things that we didn’t need, and we wore hand-me-downs and handed down our clothing to others.

Use it Up, Wear it Out, or Do Without

We could use a little more of that philospohy in 2013.
Here’s a little idea for old jeans.  I can’t tell you how many jeans we have gone through over the years.  We always give away the ones that are still wearable, but there are always some that no one will want. My mom made a blanket out of old jeans when I was a kid, and so I save old jeans that I can’t give away.  


earth+day, Up+cycle, denim+blanket


If you have any sewing skills, this is pretty uncomplicated.  I will post a jeans blanket tutorial in a couple of weeks–I have a lot of squares waiting to be made into another blanket!

Yes, It Is Simple…

Something else that we can all do to avoid wasting food is to make a shopping list.


I did not use a shopping list for a lot of years.  We have six children–four boys and two girls–and we went through a lot of food.  I just would fill my cart and figure out how I’d use it during the week.  I just threw into the cart what I knew they would eat.
But now we are down to two children at home, and my old shopping habits were leading to a lot of thrown-away food, especially produce.  So I started making a weekly menu and shopping list, and I hardly throw away anything anymore.  It’s made a big difference.  (And I’m not wasting grocery budget, either!)
One last earth-friendly tip:

Reusable Bags

I stopped using plastic or paper bags for my groceries or other shopping a couple of years ago.  I’ve got quite a collection of reusable bags, and I must say that these are my favorites.



Designed by our own artist, Mykey, I love using these bags when I shop.  They are thin enough to pack easily when I go shopping, but sturdy too.  

Love the Graphics!

I even took some of these bags to Uganda when I went last year to give to my beautiful friends there.  




Here’s Lucy with one of our bags!
Click here for a great website that has lots more helpful hints for recycling and repurposing all kinds of common items–as well as what to do with those not-so-common items!

Let’s Take Good Care of Mother Earth!

forks+over+knives, documentary+review, vegan+diet, healthy+eating, earth+friendly+eating, earth+friendly+diet

Documentary Review–Forks Over Knives

Look at all of those gorgeous fruits and vegetables!

Just in time for Spring and lots of gorgeous produce, I watched the documentary, “Forks Over Knives.”


This was a compelling and convincing argument for changing our diet–especially the highly processed animal-based diet of the average American–to a whole-food, plant-based diet.  


Of course the documentary begins with all of the scary statistics about the American diet–the change in the last 60 years that has brought a health crisis with Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, cancers, and obesity.  This doesn’t even begin to mention the billions of dollars spent on drugs, drugs, and more drugs.

When this film was made, the healthcare cost in America was $2.2 trillion, and yet Americans are sicker than ever, and the rate of chronic diseases is ever increasing.

So, the question is posed, “What is the solution?”  “Not another pill.”


The film centered on the life-long research and experience of Dr. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.  They both have spent their professional lives making connections between food and health. 

“Let Food Be Thy Medicine”  (Hippocrates)


Several other doctors were involved in the film, as well as patients whose lives had been changed.  One of those who changed their diets completely was Lee Fulkerson.  The film followed his journey as he learned of this movement.  He went to see Dr. Matthew Lederman and Dr. Alona Pulde, a husband/wife team. 




Lee was shocked to see how unhealthy his bloodwork numbers were, especially since he had considered himself generally healthy.  He had an alarmingly high risk factor number for heart disease.


Lee took this very seriously and changed his diet completely to eat only whole-food, plant-based foods.



Lee was taken step-by step, from shopping to preparing to eating a whole-food plant-based diet.  Within a few months, his health was vastly improved, and not just by the numbers, but by how he felt.  The documentary also followed several others who have changed their lives and found incredible health benefits.  There was even one woman who was told that she should just go home and prepare to die because of her heart disease.  Instead, she met Dr. Esselstyn and changed the way she ate.  The film was made twenty years after that diagnosis, and she looks younger than she did when she was told to go home and get ready for her demise.

If you’d like to read more, and watch the trailer or the entire film, go to their official website.  They also have recipes and more help to make the switch.



I know we feel better when we eat more fruits and vegetables, and cut back on the animal products.  In the coming weeks we will feature recipes and tips to eat better, as well as featured produce.  We have some really beautiful produce at Lassen’s, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised as how affordable it is!



electrolyte+powder, muscle+cramps

May I bring up a painful subject?

Sports Water Done Simple and Pure!

Ok, I’ll just say it.  My muscles cramp.  A lot.  Charlie Horses are not my friend, but they sure like me.  And exercise makes it much worse.  So I like to supplement my water with an electrolyte drink.  But have you tasted some of those?  All the sugar, all the sodium, the disgusting taste…  Not to mention the cost and all of those plastic bottles junking up the environment!  

So a few years ago I tried the Alacer brand (makers of Emergen-C — The must-have vitamin C powder!) Electro Mix.  I just tear open the little packages (one per liter of water) and pour the powder into my sports bottle–fill with ice and water, and voila!  Instant sports drink!  
Electro Mix has potassium, magnesium, Manganese, Calcium, and Chromium to help replace those minerals lost with exercise.  It’s not sickening sweet, or too sour either.  It has a really nice, fresh lemon-lime flavor.  I usually carry a couple of packets of Electro Mix in my saddle pack.  If I run out of water I can easily buy a bottle and add my Electro Mix!
Try some Alacer Electro Mix!  Your muscles with thank you.  

Happy cycling, running,  and hiking!



holiday+gift+ideas, stocking+stuffer+ideas, gift+ideas

Holiday Countdown Part 1: Stocking – Stuffers!

Stocking Stuffer Ideas

It’s officially December! Don’t tell me that there aren’t flurries of cottony snow falling gently on my eyelashes. Don’t say that around the corner there isn’t a frozen lake full of families ice skating and sledding down the powder covered hills. Do not attempt to look me in the eye and explain that there aren’t Douglas Firs growing tall and proud as far as the eye can see that twinkle with fresh white snow. I know that I’m living in Southern California, but just don’t tell me! One of the many wonderful things that this season brings are the winter dreams that flood your mind when December finally arrives.

Yessiree Bob, the Holidays are almost here! To bring us straight into the spirit of giving, here are some awesome and unique little stocking – stuffer ideas that will make this season bright, wholesome and healthy!

stocking+stuffers, bath+bombs


Hugo Naturals Vanilla Peppermint Cupcake Fizzy Bath Bomb
Possibly the most adorable thing to contain the word “bomb”.
With their humble beginnings selling hand crafted soap at Farmer’s Markets, Hugo Naturals products strive to provide the public with clean and honest products that contain no parabans, soy or gluten but are vegan, cruelty free and are made from 100% natural ingredients!
stocking+stuffers, nail+polish

 No Miss Holiday One Coat Polish

Making nails fancy and festive without, you know… destroying them!

Do NOT Contain: Formaldehyde, Toluene, Dibutyl-Pthalate or Camphor.
However, does contain joy, cheer and holiday jubilance!


Triloka Premium Incense

Never mind that all Triloka items are 20% off all December long, or that there’s a large variety of beautiful incense holders, jewelry and decorative ornaments that compliment their extensive library of lovely smelling incense sticks, OR that Triloka items are fair trade, ethically sourced or handcrafted…
Just kidding, those are all valid points of why these are AWESOME!



BROO handcrafted Beer Shampoo, Conditioners & Body Wash

Beer shampoo, with it’s long history traced from ancient Egypt to Europe to America in the 1960’s, has been used for centuries to give hair an extra bounce and shine! Hops, oatmeal and citrus? Yes! Frat house? NO!


stocking+stuffers, mustache+wax


True Wax Hand Crafted Mustache Wax For the True Man!
Finally, after years of being the bushy calling card of villains, creepy uncles and typically the wrong sort of chap, The Mustache has come to it’s rightful place on the upper-lip of  the modern Gentleman. Beeswax, clove oil and natural ingredients will make the ends of any gentlemen’s whiskers curl like the smoke from Sherlock Holmes’s long stemmed Briar wood pipe!

stocking+stuffers, fir+incense


Juniper Ridge Douglas Fir & Juniper Incense Sticks
If you do not know much about Juniper Ridge, I ardently suggest you take a poke around their website. Wilderness lovers through and through, the folks at Juniper Ridge make it their mission to bring nature to you in it’s most honest and alluring form. Taking a stand against the petro-chemical fragrances popularized in the main stream, they go out into the open forest air to harvest real plant trimmings. Be it Cedars in the Siskiyou coastal mountains or Juniper from the woodlands of Eastern Sierra Nevada, this incense will warm the hearts of those who love the rustic smell of campfires and the comforting scent of a crackling fireplace.

stocking+stuffers, fair+trade, Dr+Bronners, Castile+soap


Dr. Bronner’s Natural Certified Fair Trade Pure Castille Soap – Travel Size

Needing little introduction, Dr. Bronner’s USDA organic and fair trade soaps have made a huge impact on the health conscious community. Support a company that donated over $250,000 to support prop 37, the proposition that would have made it mandatory for companies to label all GMO’s in their food. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps is clearly a brand that cares about your health. Share the love!


stocking+stuffers, fair+trade, fingerless+mittens


Lakhay Knit Fingerless Gloves
Beautiful knit gloves on the outside, warm black fleece on the inside! When you aren’t hand in hand with your loved ones, keep theirs warm with this winter wonder wear. Made and fairly traded by woman artisans in Nepal, these beauties are available in ALL sorts of colors and styles!


Bovetti Gourmet Chocolate Bars
From the understated brown wrapping to the over-sized window where you can thoroughly observe your beautiful and, I dare say, exquisite chocolate before consuming it, from the get go these artisan chocolates are certainly a cut above the rest. The hefty chunks of salt in the caramel and fleur de sel chocolate are a sure sign that there ain’t so skimpin’ from the guys at Bovetti! 
stocking+stuffers, lip+balm
Zum Shea Butter Lip Balm
Organic ingredients and natural vitamin E oil will make application of the Zumbo Kiss lip balms feel like a kiss from ol’ Jack Frost himself! Available in spearmint, peppermint or hey, BOTH! 


All of these and so much more available at your local Lassens! For more great gift ideas, check out our Holiday displays! 100% recycled paper gift wrap and bows, ribbon made of recycled water bottles, seasonal sips of Zhena’s new holiday teas, candy canes, and more! 
Stay tuned this week for Holiday Countdown Part 2!
Wishing you comfort and joy this season!