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Food for thought

living green

Going Green – Pest Control and Going Organic

By | Food for thought, Learning, Tips

Pest Control Tricks and Living Hacks – the Green Way

It might be pretty easy to buy pest control products off the shelf from your local store or the supermarket, but you should really consider going for the more environmentally friendly option.

But Why?

First of all think about the thousands of people spraying these pest control formulas and pesticides in the air, polluting the air that we breathe. Going green will purify the air around us and the air in your house, as well as reduce the amount of carbon dioxide, methane and so many other toxic gases that end up in the atmosphere.

The Hacks – this is the myth and magic examined

Garden Bugs

Myth – panty hose nets

Magic – hot sauce spray: the solution comprises of 1 part hot sauce (without seeds) plus 3 parts water.

Note: hot sauce seeds clog up the sprayer, so use a kind that doesn’t have them. This works really well if you grow tomatoes and cannot control the pests.

 

Spiders

Maybe – osage orange: we’re not saying that this method is 100% foolproof yet it does decrease the amount of spiders that come along. Keep them in your garage or lower floors for more of an impact.

 

Ants

Myth – lemon halves + cloves: this method brings with it more fruit flies than it deals with your ant issues

– cayenne + water spray: even though ants do not like pepper this is not going to work and will just stain your cupboards

– cornstarch: this will attract the roaches

So what can be done…

Magic – cayenne pepper sprinkle: simply does it! Just sprinkle some cayenne in the areas the ants seem to come from. Also check for any cracks and crevices that can be fixed.

Gnats

Myth – white vinegar + soap + water in a plant sprayer: this will just close to kill your plant

Magic- cup apple cider vinegar + dish soap: the soap acts to break the surface of the vinegar. So if you have a gnat problem simply place a bowl or cup of vinegar with a few drops of the dish soap in it which will attract the gnats.

 

Roaches

Magic – pets usually cats!

 

Mice

Myth – peanut butter in traps: just don’t use traps in general

Maybe – peppermint oil: this works sometimes and at others it doesn’t work at all. Just try it out, besides it will diffuse a great smell into your space

Magic – again cats are perfect

Magic – steel wool clogs: be aware of any holes in your building, if you identify such spots then fill them in with the steel wool clogs till you can come up with a more permanent solution.

 

Mosquitos

Myth – dryer sheets for prevention: mosquitoes like water, nighttime parties, and hanging out in fields. Trying to use some lavender sheets will not really work for many people.

Magic – lime juice: it turns out that lemon and lime are enough to repel as well as numb the itch of previous bites. This is handy when you’re in your garden or balcony, if you’re going out make sure to just dash a few drops on your neck, arms and legs just before you head out.

The issue of using Truvia

It might be surprising yet in reality you can use Truvia as a pesticide! The results from a study by Drexel University found the key in one of Truvia’s polyol (sugar alcohol) components, Erythritol. If you sprinkle it generously on soil, it acts as a reproductive suppressant for adult flies, halting their egg production and killing the larvae of the adult flies within three days.

It might seem strange considering that people actually use these for their drinks and they can be used to kill insects. Makes you realize that we should be very aware of what we are consuming.

 

Why is it important to go Green?

How this affects your life

Doing the right thing when it comes to choosing the right food for your diet already feels amazing but then it would mean nothing if you are taking in so much crap from the pesticides that are sprayed onto your fruits and vegetables.

– Importance of washing your greens

In light of the above, think about the amount of pesticides going onto your greens. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) release an annual Dirty Dozen List which reports which fruit and vegetables have the highest detectable pesticides – it’s good to have a peek at it! Strawberries and apples were found to be the most affected. The pesticide residue is minute it is true but if you have many fruits every day then you want to minimize the intake of these toxins. Properly washing fruits and vegetables can remove most of the existing residue on the surface (the pesticides that are absorbed by the roots are unavoidable but are a very small percentage of the overall pesticides).

1. Make sure your hands are clean.

If your hands are dirty when you start washing the produce, you’ll transfer the bacteria that’s on them to your fresh, beautiful vegetables. To be safe, wash them for at least twenty seconds with soap and warm water before preparing your vegetables.

2. Rinse your produce under running water.

You should not wash your fruit or vegetables with soap, if you think about it adding soap to your produce is like adding more chemicals to get rid of chemicals, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. For the cleanest fruit, just run it under clean water and for firmer produce, use a clean produce brush to rub off any dirt or residue.

3. Dry with a clean towel.

Once your produce is squeaky-clean, dry it off with a clean dishtowel to further reduce the amount of bacteria it comes into contact with.

– Consider going organic

The more you know about your food the more you will be able to eat and buy sustainably. Of course, what it means to eat like this is complicated. We don’t eat locally grown produce all the time – think about your coffee beans, and we don’t always manage to shop from our farmer’s market! Every time we make a purchase we can try to be more conscientious of our decisions – think of every purchase as a vote of what we want to see more of.

A label is not going to tell you everything you need to know about a product – there’s a wide range of farming practices that all play a part in the end product and that you won’t really know about. Next time you’re down at your local farmer’s market strike up a conversation and always stick to the same farmers for particular products.

List of foods you could easily buy organically:

Strawberries and apples

Nectarines and peaches

Celery and grapes

Cherries and spinach

Tomatoes and peppers (any type)

Cucumbers, kale and collard greens

– Habits supporting good soil

The source of healthy eating is ultimately our soil. Healthy soil gives life to flavourful food, it stores climate change-accelerating carbon and nourishes natural ecosystems. To support integrative growing practices we need to start thinking about and looking at the big picture – we have to go for anything that nurtures the environment.

1. Check out the cover crops.

Planting cover crops is a vital part of vegetable rotation that helps farmers to fortify the soil and lay the groundwork for a thriving harvest. But the demands of industrialized agriculture mean that if farmers want to make money, most have to forgo cover crops. It’s not a sustainable solution, but it is a short-term fix.

As consumers, we can encourage farmers to plant what they need to nourish the soil by bringing “cover crops” into our own weekly rotation. Spelt, rye, barley, and buckwheat are major cover crops.

 

  1. Support farmers who practice permaculture.

Permaculture is a holistic approach to farming: Practitioners keep mind the interconnectedness of all elements of the landscape in mind, integrating landscape design, ecological philosophies, and sustainable farming principles to create a “closed-loop” ecosystem. A productive permaculture system is self-sufficient and supports the kind of resiliency and interconnectivity that our soil needs to thrive by recycling waste products, storing energy, and fostering biodiversity.

Put these principles into practice by buying biodynamically-grown grains and supporting local permaculture practitioners. In this way your harvest is both sustainably grown and flavour-packed because it’s soaking up so many nutrients.

3. Experiment in the kitchen!

Biodiversity is integral to soil health: We need a vibrant variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers to revitalize the soil.

So if you find yourself stocking up on the same things: whole-wheat bread, spinach, tomatoes…break out of the mould by trying out heirloom tomatoes, purple carrots, ancient grains, and rarer breeds of kale.

Grabbing the less-common ingredients at the farmer’s market encourages farmers to continue to grow a rich diversity of plants.

 

  1. Go non-GMO.

Regardless of where you stand on the capacity of genetically modified organisms to feed the world, the systems in which GMOs are embedded – seed privatization, monoculture agriculture – are threatening to soil health. The use of GMOs can create super weeds and bugs that eradicate biodiversity and weaken soil resiliency. And across the world, indigenous and small-scale farmers are losing rights to their native seeds – which represent storehouses of biodiversity – in the face of GMO giants such as Monsanto.

With that in mind always look for “Non-GMO” on the package. This can be tricky terrain in light of recent policies that make it harder to determine just what constitutes a genetically-modified organism, but in the end it’s better than doing nothing.

 

Keeping these tips in mind will make it easier to live a greener and healthier life.

how to fix broken ceramics

How to Fix Broken Ceramics

By | Cleaning, Food for thought, Maintenance, Tips

Broken and Beautiful 

There is a beauty in the cracks of an object – seeing the bumps and bruises, the scratches and dents simply adds to the character and sentimental value of a piece.

How many times have you dropped a beloved (or not so beloved) piece and there’s nothing you can do about it?! The plate cracks as you’re packing or unpacking it from the bubble-wrap, the vase which falls to the floor and is shattered, someone brings it out of the cabinet and drops it…so many scenarios! Many times we end up sweeping it and throwing the broken bits out – folded in paper and out in the garbage bag to be forgotten it goes.

Yet, sometimes just sometimes there is the chance to salvage your ceramics in quite a whimsical way really.

What To Do

Fix it. I know what you’re thinking…it’s easier said than done and it will not look the same, but thankfully it’s not supposed to. Unless you take it to a conservator and they will do the job as it is supposed to be done, you have another option.

So how to make something broken beautiful?

It’s called ‘Kintsukuroi’. It is an ancient Japanese method of fixing your broken ceramics, giving them a particular edge as you line the broken bits together with a golden mixture that works like a glue. In the process of fixing the pottery with this gold or silver lacquer you also have to appreciate that the item is more beautiful for being broken.

So before you get angry with yourself (or anyone else for that matter), breathe and try to see it from a positive perspective!

The essence of the practice is focusing one’s intention on life’s hidden beauty and power.

 

You are essentially transforming pottery into a masterpiece. The transformation lies not only in putting the pieces of the broken item together but also in healing the fixer’s emotional state.

Process

You will need

– epoxy for ceramic

– gold mica powder

– disposable plate/paper

 

  1. The Epoxy

A fine balance of ingredients is required. If we add too much gold to the mixture the joints will be too soft to fuse. Yet if we add too much epoxy the adhesive bond becomes too brittle to establish a permanent bond.

Movement is also an issue. Be wary of moving too quickly or too slowly with the epoxy, or you will leave too much or too little of the mixture on the broken edge.

 

– mix a quarter of the epoxy with a pea-size amount of the gold powder

– combine it properly (you can use the end of a matchstick)

2. Examining the Broken Pieces

You need to re-experience every broken fragment to engage in the reconstruction process, so that you will be able to know their exact shape, position and feel. Every single piece must be returned to its original position.

 

– use a fresh matchstick and apply a fine line of the mixture to one of the broken edges

– align the other piece to it and press until the glue seeps between the seam, creating a fine line along the crack

– work in sections if you have a more complicated break

– the glue sets pretty quickly but keep an eye on them as the pieces set together

 

The “epoxy” in the analogy represents our attachment to positive reinforcement or to our expectation of how quickly we should be progressing. Being too attached to only fast and positive movement undermines our willingness to embrace setbacks. We have to be open to setbacks and to the possibility of “cure”.

The “gold” is an analogy for this desire to be healed.

Other Concepts

With this method of fixing you really have this feel of focus being shifted, from the impossible to the possible. Rumi, the great Persian poet addresses such a thought process in this way – The wound is the place where the light enters you.”

 

The process we have just described links to other Japanese concepts, these are a few –

Wabi-sabi: nothing is perfect and that is a good thing

Lki: sophistication without complication

Ma: the space defines what it surrounds and in turn is defined by it

Mono-no-aware: the passing of things

Kanketsu: simplicity through complexity

 

Taking all this is, you can appreciate the thought processes that go into repairing pottery and the art that is involved.

This a great opportunity to be able to combine the old with the more modern elements in your house too. You are literally accentuating the break rather than hiding it – thereby honouring its history.

our impact on environmental issues, energy consumption and consumerism

Current Environmental Issues & How We Can Help Save The Environment

By | Food for thought

When you stop to think about it, our planet is truly amazing.

Earth is the only planet – in the Milky Way at least – to have created a space possible for the creation and growth that sustains life. This creative process is what we often take for granted.

It is a process which occurs naturally yet we have to appreciate that certain elements need to be sustained for creation to continue to flourish.

We look for facts about earth or news about how we are affecting life and the life of the next generations … yet how are we actually acting on what we hear or see?

The key issues surrounding the environment

 

There’s been a lot of talk about how humans are polluting the land, facts about the extent to which our consumption levels are depleting the earth’s resources and the effects of over-construction.

All of these contribute to global warming and the extinction of many species

Such environmental issues have led us to become aware of the importance of recycling, using alternative sources of energy such as solar, wind, or water and actually acknowledging that our actions have an imprint upon the planet.

Looking at a small beauty like the bee and how we as a race depend on it to live life as we know it;

Einstein himself commented that “If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live”

Since the 1990s, the psychologist Daniel Goleman, has been promoting ecological intelligence.

This entails becoming aware of the ecological impacts of how we live, knowing the impacts of buying the things we buy, and marketplace transparency in the hope of creating a mechanism for positive change.

Projects to Save the Environment

 

Various projects can be mentioned, and we do not need to go too far from home. With solar panels on many of the roofs in our skyline we can see a start to the environmental conservation process, but also the other possibilities we haven’t taken advantage of yet! It’s knowing how to use what we have, but keeping the benefit of our planet in mind.

World Wildlife Fund

WWF are always coming up with numerous projects to reduce extinction and protect what we still have –  animals in danger of extinction or forests that are going to be cut down

Save the Elephants

The Douglas-Hamilton’s founded the Save the Elephants organization which allows various industries get involved and spread the word to stop the ivory trade. They research, monitor, protect and see how we can co-exist with elephants in their habitat.

The beauty is that we can help in so many ways!

From home you can adopt animals to help sustain their habitat or donate to these organizations; talk to people about these issues and make them aware of how the little things we do can affect the planet in a major way.

For those who are more adventurous associations such as WWF, National Geographic and ‘Save the Elephants’ offer internship programmes, so you get to experience working with the animals. What could be better!

#notonmyplanet

Accepting and recognising consumerism as giving in to greed is not easy, yet it is needed for us to re-embrace the important aspects of life.

We could be more aware of the fact that the earth does not belong to us, but ‘Man belongs to the earth’ in Einstein’s words.

It’s a question of humanity – of choosing the good for all and looking at our roles as guardians.

 “Each one of us is just a visitor to this planet, a guest, who will only stay for a limited time. Use this short time living a meaningful life, connecting with others and being of service to them”

– Dalai Lama

Shoes Inside Your Home

Is It Ok To Wear Your Shoes Inside Your Home?

By | Food for thought, Uncategorized

From time to time, a question comes up online that will split “the audience” in half. On some days it’s a blue & black dress that changes colour,  other times its discussing if the toilet roll should go over or under.

Today; we are looking at another heated debate, which is;

Is It Ok To Wear Your Shoes Inside Your Home?

Shoes Inside Your Home

Personally, I am all for keeping your shoes on when indoors. I do it at my home, and I have been this way from seeing my parents with their shoes indoors as well. I do not see any problem with this, but apparently; the internet does, so once we came about this dilemma, we decided to do our research.

Following are some ideas on WHY you should NOT keep your shoes on when going inside you home.

4 Reasons Why You Should Take Off Your Shoes Inside Your Home

421,000 Different Types Of Bacteria

Apparently, and please do not freak out, but shoes carry on them (or rather under them?) an incomprehensible amount of bacteria. Some would say close to 421,000 different types of bacteria.

So, the argument here; would you want to bring each and every single one of them inside your home?

It Carries Dirt Indoors

Yes, this argument I can see being valid. The street is not clean. You have dust, dog poop, spit, gum, etc…

Walking around all day in the city would make your shoes undeniably filthy and when you think about it; bringing all this to your “comfy place of rest” is not ideal.

Keeps The Home Cleaner

Also, it’s been proven that families that take off their shoes before entering the home leads to the house staying cleaner for much longer.

Dust, rain and mud can all be carried inside after walking about for just a few seconds so yes, we agree that home cleaning will be much easier if people started taking off their shoes.

Shoes Damage Feet?

There’s also the argument that shoes are not good for the feet and it’s much healthier to give your toes some “air” when inside your home.

While this surely can’t be denied, some prefer giving their feet support and are much more comfortable when wearing something, especially people who suffer from a bad back.

What are your thoughts on this?

3 Rebuttals Of The Above “Rules”

Now that we’ve heard one side of the argument, let’s look at the other side of it a, and that is; 4 reasons why you SHOULD keep your shoes ON when entering your home.

If You Have Pets

Anybody that owns a pet knows that nine times out of ten, there will be some sort of mess when they come home, so wearing shoes inside the home to avoid stepping in something is a valid argument which we agree with.

If You Have Children

Another good point we also agree on is a comment posted online that said since they have kids at the house, it’s safer to wear shoes to avoid stepping on something that might cause you some pain.

While this may be a bit too far-fetched, it’s a good valid point for #TeamShoes

Comfort

Again; some say that they much rather wear some sort of footwear inside, and for most, it’s a pair of sneakers which provide support and comfort to their feet.

We can’t argue with this, and I honestly think anybody can do whatever he wants with their feet in the comfort of their home.

We Asked The Briiz Staff For Their Opinions…

Now that we heard  both sides of this argument (with some valid points backing up the claims), we decided to ask some of our Briiz employees on what they think, and we’re surprised to see the results;

Most of our staff here at Briiz HQ prefer to wear their shoes inside. The reason for the ones that do not wear shoes was simply “because I was raised that way“.

What Are YOUR Thoughts?

What are your thought on this? Do you wear your shoes inside or do you take them off? And why?

As for our official opinion here, we are still not sure. We see the benefits of both sides, but mostly, we like to keep wearing our shoes.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this so be sure to let us know on our Facebook page.

Keeping A Clean Home

One point that we like though, is the fact that taking off your shoes does lead to a clean home “staying clean” for much longer.

That we can’t deny, but we can also help you with keeping a clean home. See our home cleaning services here and if you have any questions, be sure to let us know.

We’d love to help you out (whether you like keeping your shoes on or off when going inside your home).

Thanks for reading.

Briiz