Monday, May 22, 2017

Job Posting - Municipal Services Specialist


Job Title:  Municipal Services Specialist
Employment Opportunities:  The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is currently recruiting to fill one Municipal Services Specialist vacancy in Montgomery County.

Nature of Work:  This is advanced technical and administrative work in the regulation and inspection of highway related maintenance and construction projects within the municipal services function of a Transportation Engineering District.  An employee in this class functions as a District Municipal Services representative responsible for all highway related maintenance, improvement, and construction projects within an assigned group of municipalities.  Work involves the performance of independent advanced technical duties in the preparation of feasibility reviews to determine actual need, economic justification, and public necessity; development of recommendations on the amount of liquid fuel funds that should be disbursed; monitoring of construction operations to ensure compliance with specifications, regulations, and project safety; administration of the construction project records; and disbursement of funds to contractors.  Employees meet with city, county, township, and other municipal officials to discuss proposed projects, advise them on various aspects throughout the life of the projects, and provide technical advice in respect to problems and inspection activities.  Work requires the interpretation and analysis of contract requirements and municipal roadway construction or maintenance plans, specifications, and drawings, and the application of a variety of inspection and testing techniques.  Assignments require independent judgment in making on-site technical decisions.  Work is assigned with general instructions by a technical supervisor who reviews work for results obtained.

In order to be considered, applicants must meet PA Residency, pass the civil service exam for Municipal Services Specialist (2017-027), and meet one of the following requirements:  one year of experience as a Transportation Construction Inspector (Commonwealth Title); or three years of experience either in state and/or municipal roadway construction inspection that included reviewing and interpreting plans, specifications, and cost estimates; or in work involving the interpretation and analysis of state regulations related to municipal construction funding programs; or two years of experience either in state and/or municipal roadway construction inspection that included reviewing and interpreting plans, specifications, and cost estimates; or in work involving the interpretation and analysis of state regulations related to municipal construction funding programs; and an associate's degree; or one year of experience either in state and/or municipal roadway construction inspection that included reviewing and interpreting plans, specifications, and cost estimates; or in work involving the interpretation and analysis of state regulations related to municipal construction funding programs; and a bachelor's degree; or any equivalent combination of experience or training which included one year of experience either in state and/or municipal roadway construction inspection that included reviewing and interpreting plans, specifications, and cost estimates; or in work involving the interpretation and analysis of state regulations related to municipal construction funding programs.

Starting Salary:  $46,944 annually, with excellent benefits. 
Have job-specific questions about these opportunities?  Please call the PA Department of Transportation at (717) 787-1103.  Have questions about the application process?  Please call the State Civil Service Commission at (717) 783-3058.

How to Apply:  Apply online at  Log in to the Online Services section of the homepage and select View Open Announcements and Apply from the menu.  Reference announcement #2017027 Municipal Services Specialist to submit your application and schedule your exam. 

Veterans:  Pennsylvania law (51 Pa.C.S. §7103) provides employment preference for qualified veterans for appointment to many state and local government jobs.  To learn more about employment preferences and opportunities for veterans, visit the veterans section of the website at

PennDOT District 6-0
700 Geerdes Boulevard
King of Prussia, PA 19406

Wheat Is The Perfect Chronic Poison (Hint: Stop Eating It)

Wheat is a stomach poison
I am sure that the majority of you are well aware that processed, white, enriched wheat products contain zero nutritional value and are actually very bad for your health. What many don’t understand, however, is that products made with or containing whole wheat are actually no better for your health. In fact, all modern wheat will compromise health… end of story.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors collected all they could from the ground for food including insects, berries, nuts, etc. In their gathering, they found that the animals were eating grass and they became curious. They broke it down and somehow incorporated wild wheat into their diet. This grass was called Einkorn and had only 14 chromosomes.

Wheat back then was different

Plants can mate with each other and combine chromosomes. At some point in time, the wild grass Einkorn mated with another type of wild grass and the offspring Emmer ended up with 28 chromosomes — this is the wheat that is mentioned in the Bible. However, this is not the wheat of today, that is for sure. In the Middle Ages, bread was a staple and very common food. Emmer mated with another grass which contributed more chromosomes to result in Spelt, Triticum landraces with 42 chromosomes.
In 1960, when the threat of world population explosion was imminent, there was an investment made in agricultural research where lots of money and time were devoted to new ways to increase wheat yield. At this time, different strains of wheat were crossed over and over again to select certain characteristics and to introduce unique genes.

Scientists introduce high-yield strain of wheat

The government says to eat more wheat, despite health effects.
The government says to eat more wheat, despite health effects.
The resulting wheat yielded up to 10 times more per acre. When this wheat was introduced to many third world countries, famine was greatly reduced within one year. Dr. Norman Borlaug received the Nobel Peace prize for his work creating this high yield strain of wheat.
Because this wheat is so prolific, it has taken over almost all of the world’s wheat supply. There are also about a million acres of what is known as Clearfield Wheat being grown in the Pacific Northwest. It is a semi-dwarf strain of wheat that has had its seed and embryos exposed to a chemical, sodium azide, which is an industrial toxin.

Toxic chemicals in wheat

In fact, in the few cases of human ingestion, the Poison Control Center has warned people not to offer CPR because the person offering the CPR may also ingest the chemical and die. In addition, if the victim vomits, people are told not to put the vomit in the sink because it might explode. That is how dangerous this chemical really is.
The makers of Clearfield wheat claim that their product is a result of “enhanced, traditional plant breeding techniques,” making a distinction between genetically modified wheat. However, although no gene splicing techniques were used, many other methods were, such as the purposeful induction of mutations using chemicals, high dose x-ray and radiation techniques to induce mutations coupled with cross breeding. These methods are far worse than genetic modification, according to Dr. William Davis, author of the book “Wheat Belly.

The government says to eat more wheat…

The government tells us that we need to eat more grain, meaning more wheat. Over 90 percent of all grain consumed is wheat. In the food pyramid, we are advised to eat 60 percent of calories from wheat. The new food plate design also tells us to get at least 1/4 of our calories from wheat.
Here is why we need to stop listening to what our government is telling us about the food pyramid:

Modern wheat makes you hungry

Modern wheat is designed to keep you hungry.
Modern wheat is designed to keep you hungry.
It is estimated that up to 10 percent of the population has a sensitivity to the protein in wheat known as gluten (some estimate it may be higher, closer to 30 percent). However, the other 90 percent of people who consume wheat really should not be eating it either.
Here’s why: Gluten is a two-part protein that is comprised of gliadin plus glutenin. Glutenin has a unique elasticity that gives us the ability to stretch our pizza or bread dough — and even spin it over our heads if we are inclined to do so. Gliadin, the other part of the gluten protein, was heavily studied in the 1970s by psychiatrists. They found that if they took all of the wheat out of the diet of their patients with schizophrenia, they improved markedly.
When they put the wheat back, they found that the condition worsened. So the question asked was what was in bread that led schizophrenics to hallucinate? It was traced back to the gliadin protein which, when ingested, enters the brain and binds to opiate receptors where it stimulates appetite.
In addition, gliadin, acting like an opiate in the brain, has other disastrous effects. For example, people with ADHD become hypersensitive and have behavioral outbursts, people with schizophrenia have major hallucinations, people who are bipolar become increasingly manic and those with eating disorders, such as binge eating, will develop food obsessions.
By 1985, everything at the supermarket with wheat in it came from the prolific semi-dwarf strain or a spinoff. Interestingly enough, if you compare what happened to America’s weight prior to and after 1985 it is evident that there was an obesity explosion. It is still happening today, and it all started after the “new” wheat was introduced.
A huge increase in the number of diabetics also followed the introduction of this new wheat. Although cause and effect cannot be proven scientifically, it seems evident that we have all been fed an appetite stimulant.

Modern wheat raises blood sugar

Just two slices of whole wheat bread raises blood sugar higher than six teaspoons of table sugar. How does this happen when whole wheat is considered a complex carbohydrate that we are encouraged to eat more of? The complex carbohydrate of wheat is called amylopectin-A, which is highly sensitive to amylase, which we have in our stomach and mouth. This makes it very easy to digest and raises blood sugar rapidly. Wheat for breakfast, wheat for lunch and wheat for snacks results in visceral fat that encircles the intestines, heart, liver and kidneys. Repetitive high blood sugar results in what Dr. Davis calls a “wheat belly.”

Modern wheat causes inflammation

When bacteria or a virus enters the body our immune system responds in many ways. Plants do not have the same type of immune system, but they have lectins which are proteins that are toxic to mold, fungi and insects. Some lectins are benign to humans, like the lectin found in spinach, while some are very toxic. The lectin in wheat (wheat germ agglutinin) is a four-part complex molecule.
When this lectin is isolated and given to rats in very small amounts, it destroys the small intestine. Average Americans consume about 10 to 20 milligrams of the wheat lectin in a day — that’s enough to do significant damage. When we consume wheat, the gliadin protein unlocks the normal intestinal barrier and allows foreign substances to enter the bloodstream, such as wheat lectin. This is why people who eat wheat have autoimmune and inflammatory distress such as joint inflammation, bowel inflammation, acid reflux, inflammation of the brain, inflammation of the airways and more. In fact, there is not one system that escapes the inflammatory assault of wheat.

Good things happen when you remove wheat

First of all, taking wheat out of the diet is not as easy as might think; it is in a lot of foods — even ones we would not associate with having wheat. For example, wheat is in Twizzlers, Campbell’s Tomato Soup, taco seasoning, frozen dinners, cereals, salad dressings, granola bars and a lot more. Why is there wheat in so many products?
In 1960, we could find wheat only in things where we would expect to find wheat, like breads, pastas and pancake mix. Today, it is an entirely different story. Wheat is in all kinds of foods where we would not expect to find it.
Is it possible that food manufacturers know a little something about wheat as an appetite stimulant (on top of the fact that is it heavily subsidized by our government and therefore artificially inexpensive)?

What happens when you stop eating wheat

Removing wheat from your diet may help you lose weight.
Removing wheat from your diet may help you lose weight.
Dr. Davis tells us that taking wheat out of our diets will result in the following:
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Reduced appetite
  • Lowered blood sugar
  • Reduced joint pain
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Improvement in cognitive function
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Reduced food obsessions
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Reduced triglycerides
  • Increased energy
  • Improved sleep

What about gluten-free?

Going gluten-free is a good thing because you avoid problems with gluten and gliadin, wheat germ agglutinin and amylopectin A. However, gluten-free foods contain other things, mainly potato starch, rice starch, tapioca starch and corn starch. These are the only foods that raise blood sugar higher than the amylopectin A found in whole wheat.
Warning: If you choose to be gluten-free, avoid the commercial products. Do this at least until you educate yourself on the differences between the various gluten-free products on the market.

What can I eat?

Eat real, single-ingredient foods as much as possible. You can eat nuts, healthy fat, organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed beef, organic chicken and turkey, wild caught salmon, cheese, organic eggs, coconuts, avocados, flaxseeds, olive and hemp oils as well as a variety of other foods that are in their natural state. The more refined a food is, the more likely it contains wheat and other byproducts of the refinement process. They are just too dangerous to your health, so choose food wisely.
— Susan Patterson

This Is Why You Should Eat Lemons Daily

Alfred E. Newman had it right when he said,”We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons.” Too true. So when life gives you lemons, eat them whole and fresh!

All about lemons

The lemon was first created as a cross between a lime and a citron, and all three grow on evergreen shrubs. The Arabs introduced this small citrus fruit to the Europeans, who then brought them to Spain in the 11th century.
Along with other fruits and vegetables, Christopher Columbus brought lemons with him on his second voyage to the New World in 1493. They have been growing in Florida since the 16th century. Besides large amounts of vitamin C, lemons contain riboflavin, thiamin, iron, magnesium, pantothenic acid, fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, copper, calcium and folate. Lemons even protected miners against scurvy during the California Gold Rush. They cost as much as one dollar each in 1849.
Although we may not be overly concerned about scurvy in America today, here are 11 other great reasons why lemons should be a part of your healthy diet:

1. Free radical fighter

Vitamin C is the most important antioxidant found in nature. This vitamin neutralizes free radicals both inside and outside of cells. Free radicals are responsible for damaging cells and cellular membranes leading to inflammation, chronic disease and accelerated aging.
Free radicals can also damage blood vessels and alter cholesterol so that it builds up on artery walls. Vitamin C helps prevent this buildup and, consequently, helps to stop the progression of atherosclerosis and heart disease in diabetics.

2. Immune system booster

Lemons are a natural immune booster.
When cold and flu season arrives, it is always a good idea to keep a bag of fresh lemons handy. The citric acid, bioflavonoids, vitamin C, calcium, pectin and limonene do a great job of boosting your immune system and keeping infections at bay.

3. Cancer protection

Lemons contain 22 anti-cancer compounds including limonene, an oil that has been shown to halt the growth of cancer tumors in animals. In addition, they also contain flavonol glycosides, which stop the division of cancer cells.
A 2005 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that limonoids in citrus fruits protect cells from damage that can lead to cancer. Another study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry stated that limonoids can inhibit tumors in the mouth and stop the growth of cancer cells once a tumor has formed.

4. pH balance

Lemons are considered one of the most alkalizing foods you can eat. This may seem counterintuitive, as they are acidic on their own. However, in the body, lemons are alkaline; the citric acid does not create acidity once it has been metabolized.
The minerals in lemons actually help to alkalize the blood. Most people are too acidic, and lemons reduce overall acidity, drawing uric acid from the joints. This reduces the pain and inflammation which many people feel.

5. Oxygen uptake

Lemons have a purer concentration of negatively charged ions than any other fruit. Dr. Pierce J. Howard, author of “The Owners Manual for the Brain; Everyday Applications from Mind Brain Research,” says, “Negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain; resulting in higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, and more mental energy. They also may protect against germs in the air.” The first man to reach the top of Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary, said that he attributed much of his success to lemons!
LEMON FACT: One lemon tree can produce up to 600 pounds of lemons in a year.

6. Fiber

Most people fall far short of the 20 to 38 grams of fiber recommended daily. Without proper fiber, however, you can easily become constipated or develop hemorrhoids. Consuming adequate fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of developing health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and diverticulitis.
In fact, the American Diabetes Association includes lemons on their list of superfoods because of their high fiber content. In addition, the pectin fiber in lemons can help keep you from getting hungry and overeating.

7. Mood and energy

Putting lemons in your water can help improve your mood and energy.
Putting lemons in your water can help improve your mood and energy.
Have you ever gotten up on the “wrong side of the bed?” If you are often lethargic and cranky in the morning, or any time of the day for that matter, you may want to consider munching on a lemon.
Our energy comes from atoms and molecules in our food. When positively charged atoms flood the digestive tract and mingle with those that are negatively charged, a positive reaction occurs.
Lemons contain more negatively charged ions than positive ions, which gives you a boost as the lemon enters your digestive tract. Just the scent alone of lemons can improve your mood and elevate your energy levels. Lemons also promote clear thinking and help reduce anxiety and depression. Try this: Rubbing a lemon on your lips before bed and washing it off in the morning will help remove dead skin cells and make your lips soft.

8. Digestive health

Your body works hard to digest all that you give it. Lemon juice helps flush away unwanted materials and toxins left from the digestive process. Because lemon juice is similar in atomic composition to digestive juices and saliva, it does a great job breaking down material and encouraging the liver to produce bile.

9. Clear skin

Sometimes we forget that the key to clear and beautiful skin starts with great nutrition. Thanks to the vitamin C in lemons, these little citrus fruits can help decrease wrinkles and blemishes. Lemons help to push toxins from the body and support healthy liver function, which also keeps skin clear and supple.

10. Kidney stones

When you don’t have enough citrate in your urine, you are at an increased risk of developing kidney stones. Eating lemons on a regular basis can help raise the citrate levels in your urine. This may prevent stones from forming by coating very small stones and keeping other material from attaching to the small stones and enlarging them.

11. Blood pressure

Lemons are high in potassium, which is an important mineral that helps to keep blood vessels soft and flexible. This, in turn, helps to reduce high blood pressure. The vitamin B in lemons is also beneficial to heart health.

The difference between real lemons and bottled lemon juice

Real lemons contain about 139 percent vitamin C, while bottled juice contains 100 percent of the daily value. The calcium content in real lemons is seven percent, while in bottled juice it is three percent. In addition, bottled lemon juice may also contain fructose and other dangerous additives.

Lemon buying tips

As lemons ripen, their antioxidant powers increase. Choose lemons when they are ripe. Lemons with thinner skin will have more juice than those with thicker skin. Also, the heavier a lemon is, the more juice it contains. Don’t buy lemons that are wrinkled or dull in color.

— Susan Patterson

17 Amazing Uses for Epsom Salt… Some You Won’t Believe

Epsom salt, which is not really a salt at all but a mineral compound comprised of magnesium and sulfate, gets its named from a saline spring at Epsom in Surrey, England.

Epsom salt has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a number of ailments, and also has many beauty, gardening and household uses.
Both magnesium and sulfate are readily absorbed into the skin, which makes their health benefits readily accessible. Over 325 enzymes in the body are regulated by magnesium, which also helps reduce inflammation, alleviates hardening of the arteries and improves muscle and nerve function. Sulfates improve the rate at which nutrients are absorbed and help to flush out toxins. Here are 17 of our favorite uses for this versatile compound – we hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
1. Soothe sore muscles
An Epsom salt bath is a great way to soothe sore muscles, cramps, bruises and joint pain. Because of this, it is a great after-workout soak. In addition, soaking in an Epsom salt bath is a wonderful way to relax and relieve stress. Add 2 cups of salts to a warm bath. Mix the salt in so it dissolves in the water. Soak for 10-15 minutes for best results.
2. Exfoliate skin
As we shed our skin naturally, the buildup of dead skin cells clogs pores and can cause blemishes. Exfoliation is necessary to keep skin healthy, glowing and vibrant. The best way to exfoliate with Epsom salts is to massage handfuls all over the body in the shower or bath. Your skin will feel soft and fresh with this homemade spa treatment.
3. Homemade hand wash
Mix ½ cup of baby oil with ½ cup of water, and add ¼ cup of Epsom salts and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Set this homemade mixture next to your sink for a nice bathroom hand wash.
4. Treat insect bites and poison ivy
A compress made with Epsom salts is a great way to treat mosquito bites, bee stings and poison ivy. Mix 2 tablespoons of salts with 1 cup of warm water. Soak a clean cloth in the mixture and hold on affected area to remove pain, burning and itching.
5. Clean your face
Your face need to be cleaned and exfoliated just like the rest of your body. Put a teaspoon of Epsom salts in your hand and mix with a little warm water. Scrub your face with the mixture then rinse clean. This facial cleaner not only exfoliates and rejuvenates but also helps remove blackheads and prevent acne.
6. Remove splinters
Splinters can be tricky and painful to remove. Skip the needles and soak your splintered skin in an Epsom salt bath. The salts will draw the splinter out and leave the area clean.
7. Lip balm
Dry, flakey, cracking lips are not only unsightly but also painful. Heal this uncomfortable condition with a homemade Epsom salt lip balm. Mix equal parts organic coconut oil and Epsom salts. Apply to lips generously to exfoliate and moisturize.
8. Tile cleaner
Bathroom and kitchen tile grime can be difficult to clean. Powerful tile cleaners are not only expensive, but also often contain harmful chemicals. Make your own hard-working natural Epsom salt tile scrub. Mix equal parts liquid dish soap with epsom salts. Scrub onto tiles with a sponge and rinse clean with water.
9. Insect killer
Mix ¼ cup of Epsom salts with 2 cups of water and place in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture around your home and garden to safely deter insects without the use of chemical insecticides.
10. Relieve constipation
Epsom salts are a great way to relieve constipation. Mix 2 teaspoons of Epsom salts in a glass of water. Drink entire cup for best results. If the taste is not appealing to you, try mixing with fresh juice instead.
11. Fertilize your lawn and plants
Epsom salts make a wonderful fertilizer for your lawn and potted plants. For greener grass, mix 1 cup of the salts for every gallon of water and spray over lawn area. To fertilize potted plants, simply sprinkle Epsom salts around the base of the plants once every week. This method of fertilizing also works great for tomatoes and other veggies.
12. Draw out toxins and reduce swelling
An Epsom salt bath is a wonderful way to draw toxins out of your body. Soaking in a bath for 10-15 minutes is also a great way to reduce swelling. Mix 1-2 cups of Epsom salts in a warm bath and mix to dissolve in water.
13. Boost your laundry
Epsom salts combined with a little essential oil makes a perfect fabric softener for your laundry. In addition, the salts will help remove detergent buildup from your washer. Mix 4 cups epsom salts with 20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Add ¼ cup to each load of laundry.

14. Kill foot fungus and remove odor Soaking your feet in Epsom salts not only reduces swelling and draws out toxins, but also zaps odors and foot fungus. Add ¼ cup to a large container of warm water. Soak feet for 10-15 minutes.
15. Sunburn treatment
Soaking in an Epsom salt bath is a great way to soothe skin irritated by sunburn. Mix 1 cup of salts in warm bath water. Mix to combine and soak in the bath for 10-15 minutes.
Epsom salt16. Hair conditioner
Epsom salts make a great deep conditioner to add volume and remove grease from your hair. Combine equal parts of organic hair conditioner and Epsom salts and apply liberally to hair. Let sit for 20 minutes, then rinse clean.
17. Soften your hands
You know that soaking your feet in epsom salts is healthy, but what about your hands? Soaking your hands is a great way to soothe rough skin, calm aching finger joints, remove nail polish and remove any dirt from under your nails. Add 1/4 cup of Epsom salts to a large bowl of warm water. Soak hands in mixture for 5-10 minutes.

45 Things To Do With Baking Soda

Oftentimes, the simplest things in life can be the most powerful. One example of this is baking soda. We don’t think much of that little box that sits in the pantry, but the stuff inside is potent and very versatile.
Baking soda is scientifically known as sodium bicarbonate. In nature, it is found as the mineral nahcolite, which exists in its pure form in the Green River Basin in Colorado.The main benefit of baking soda is that it neutralizes pH and helps keep things from becoming overly alkaline or overly acidic. This makes it great for a wide array of applications.
The following are 45 things you can do with baking soda… 45 of the many! Whenever you can, go with aluminum-free baking soda, especially when taking it internally.
1. Keep your fridge fresh. Put an open box of baking soda in your fridge to absorb moisture and odors. Replace the box with a new one every month.
2. Revolutionize your laundry. Add half a cup of baking soda to each load of laundry, along with a natural detergent, to enjoy the cleanest clothing and sheets ever.
3. Make a multipurpose floor cleaner. Mix half a cup of baking soda into a bucket of warm water, and use the mixture to mop your floors. You can also remove scuff marks from tile and laminate floors by putting a bit of baking soda on a damp sponge and gently scrubbing. Rinse floors by mopping with pure water when you’re done.
4. Put out a small fire. When you’re cooking, keep a box of baking soda close at hand. If a small fire erupts, get to a safe distance, and throw cups full of baking soda near the base of the fire. Of course, if the fire is too large or gets out of control, leave the house and call the fire department.
5. Clean the bathrooms. There’s no need for harsh tub and toilet bowl cleaners when you have baking soda. Mix baking soda, coarsely ground salt and natural liquid dish soap into a paste. Apply to tubs, sinks and toilets, let it sit a while, and scrub before rinsing.
6. Clean your dishwasher. To keep your dishwasher clean and smelling fresh, run a load of baking soda through it from time to time.
7. Keep your kitchen free of that garbage scent. Simply pour about a quarter of a cup of baking soda into the bottom of your garbage can to keep those smells from taking over.
8. Get cloth diapers extra clean. To clean cloth baby diapers, soak them in a mixture of about a quarter cup of baking soda to a quart of water before throwing them in the wash.
9. Keep germs off of your sponges. Soak sponges and cleaning rags in a mixture of about one quart of water and three to five tablespoons of baking soda for a couple of hours to get them nice and clean.
10. Deodorize carpets. Sprinkle some baking soda onto your carpets and rugs before vacuuming to get rid of funky smells.
11. Deodorize pet areas. You can sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of litter boxes, underneath the litter, to keep the smell from getting too nasty. You can also deodorize pet beds and areas by sprinkling a bit of baking soda onto them before vacuuming.
12. Clean up grease stains. If you have a grease stain on cement floors or your driveway, pour baking soda over the top before scrubbing. The baking soda will help soak up the grease.
13. Deodorize yourself. Instead of deodorant, rub a little bit of baking soda under your arms. Don’t use too much, to avoid powder on your shirt. Alternately, mix a sprinkle of baking soda with a little bit of coconut oil, and rub under your arms. This should keep you smelling fresh all day.
14. Amplify your shampoo. When you squeeze your favorite natural shampoo into your palm, add about half a teaspoon of baking soda to the mix. This will help remove residue and leave your hair feeling ultra-clean.
15. Degrease your hair between shampoos. No time to shower? Sprinkle a bit of baking soda into your hand and work through your hair, being careful not to get too much on your scalp. This will absorb oil and moisture, and keep your hair looking cleaner until your next shampoo.

16. Replace your mouthwash. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda into a cup of water, and use as a mouthwash to neutralize odors.
17. Whiten teeth. Make a paste using baking soda and water, and use it to brush your teeth. Afterwards, brush with a natural toothpaste, and rinse well. Note: Don’t do this for more than a week, and wait a few months between treatments, so that you don’t wear down your tooth enamel.
18. Clean your brushes and combs. This includes toothbrushes, hair combs and hair brushes. Simply soak overnight in a mixture of half baking soda, half water, and rinse thoroughly in the morning.
19. Remove fingernail stains. Mix equal parts baking soda and peroxide in a small bowl, and gently scrub your nails with the mixture using an old toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly. Over time, this should remove staining.
20. Soothe insect bites. Mix baking soda and water to make a paste, and apply to insect bites to reduce the itching and irritation.
21. Pack in a camping backpack. A baking soda and water paste can also help to soothe the sting of poison ivy, so make sure you bring a box next time you go camping or hiking.
22. Get rid of a splinter. Soak the affected area in a bowl of water with one tablespoon of baking soda. Doing this for a few days, twice a day, will help the splinter to naturally come out on its own, according to Dr. Axe.
23. Exfoliate your skin. Who needs expensive scrubs? Mix a bit of baking soda and water in your palms, and gently scrub your face using a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly. You can also put baking soda on a washcloth in the shower to exfoliate your entire body before you soap up.
24. Diffuse an acne flare up. Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply a bit directly to acne. This will help reduce redness and may help it to clear up faster, because the baking soda aids in drawing out bacteria and dirt.
25. Reduce bloating after meals. Combine half a cup of water, the juice of one fresh lemon and one teaspoon of baking soda in a cup. Stir, wait for fizz to subside a little and drink after a big meal to help relieve bloating and gas.
26. Relieve acid reflux. To help soothe the burn of acid reflux, add a quarter teaspoon of baking soda and two tablespoons of raw, organic apple cider vinegar into a glass of water and drink after meals.
27. Tone down gout pain. To help neutralize uric acid buildup, combine two tablespoons of freshly-squeezed lemon juice and a teaspoon of baking soda, and drink. 
28. Make a great foot soak. Relieve swollen, aching feet by mixing three or four teaspoons of baking soda into a tub of warm water. Soak and relax!
29. Soften your hands. Add a teaspoon or two of baking soda to a container of natural liquid hand soap, and use occasionally to exfoliate and soften the skin on your hands.

30. Take a luxurious bath. If your skin is feeling particularly oily, or if you’ve been exercising heavily, add about half a cup of baking soda to a warm bath, along with a few drops of your favorite essential oils, and soak. The baking soda will take care of that oil and sweat.
31. Scrub pots and pans. Add a sprinkle of baking soda to a damp sponge before scrubbing your pots and pans. It will help remove any char that may have accumulated, and get your cookware extra clean.
32. Banish drain odors. Got smelly drains? Baking soda to the rescue. Pour about half a cup of baking soda down the drain while water is running, or add some while you run your garbage disposal. Problem solved!
33. Polish the silver. Mix about three tablespoons of baking soda to one tablespoon of water, dip a clean cloth in the mixture, and use to polish silver plates, flatware, and vases. Rinse and dry when you are finished polishing.
34. Get scuff marks off of walls. Sprinkle some baking soda onto a clean, damp rag, and you’ll be able to get most anything off of your walls with a bit of elbow grease. Wipe the wall with a clean cloth or sponge when you are finished.
35. Get the dirt off of produce. When washing your fruits and vegetables, sprinkle a bit of baking soda onto a clean, wet washcloth, rub gently, then rinse thoroughly.
36. Keep ants out of your home. Sprinkle a bit of baking soda along the doors of your home, and any crevices that may be letting in ants. This helps to keep these critters at bay. Baking soda can help to repel cockroaches, as well.37. Polish your faucets. Add some baking soda to a damp sponge and use to polish your bathroom and kitchen faucets. Buff dry with a washcloth or clean rag, and enjoy the shine.
38. Clean your microwave. To get the grease and grime out of your microwave, simply wipe it down, inside and out, with a damp cloth sprinkled with baking soda.
39. Clean your coffee maker. Add a teaspoon of baking soda to a full pot of water, and run through your coffee maker to clean it. Follow up with a full pot of pure water to rinse.i
40. Get the smell out of your mugs. Do you have coffee mugs or teacups that have built up a bit of an odor from repeated use? Mix a quarter cup of baking soda with about a quart of warm water, and pour into affected cups and mugs. Soak overnight before washing and the smell should be gone. 41. Melt driveway ice. Out of road salt? Sprinkle some baking soda on your doorstep or walkway to melt the slippery stuff.
42. Clean your car. Instead of the wide array of chemical-laden car cleaning products, you can clean your car with baking soda instead. Mix about a quarter cup into about a quart of warm water, dip in a cleaning rag, and use to clean the interior of your car.
43. Rev up your metabolism. Add half a teaspoon of baking soda to a daily cup of organic green tea to help keep your body alkaline and encourage your body’s fat-burning processes.
44. Make a great pre-workout drink. Heat seven cups of coconut water in a pot over low heat. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda into the coconut water. Add 1/2 teaspoon natural sea salt, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, and 1/4 cup raw honey. Pour into a large jar and shake well. Drink before a workout to give you energy and help keep lactic acid at bay. You can store this mixture for a week in the fridge.
45. Recover after a workout. For a twist on the above-listed workout drink, simply mix together 4 cups of water, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, and 1 tablespoon of fresh lime or lemon juice. This beverage can help to fight fatigue and help you recover faster.
Are there any other things you use baking soda for? Please let us know!
— Tanya Rakhmilevich

Never Eat These 11 Dry Cereals — Here’s Why

Like many people in the Baby Bust generation, I grew up on dry, boxed cereal. Sure, my mom would make bacon and eggs, waffles or even homemade donuts on weekends or other special occasions, but for the most part, we ate a vast array of sugar-coated and very tasty cereal with brightly colored boxes and even some cool toys.

Cereal was the very first processed food that was designed to make eating easier — not necessarily healthier. After all, cereal requires no preparation or cooking. Cereal made it possible for moms to feed her family and get ready for work herself. But at what cost?
Cereal has been referred to as the biggest success story of the modern food industry. Well-known author and speaker Michael Pollan says this, ” Breakfast cereals in many ways are the archetypal processed food product of modern capitalist food economics.”

Cereal advertising at its best (WORST)

Catchy, fun and oh so alluring, food manufacturers have never skimped on their budget when it comes to cereal ads. As a kid, I can remember choosing my weekly cereal solely on the advertisements.
Millions of dollars are spent annually on advertisements that not only aggressively target children but also convince adults that dry cereals are a healthy and economical food choice. There are contests, online games, celebrity endorsements and catchy jingles to draw us in. Of course, none of us have time, as the advertisers would like us to think, to prepare real food for our family. Why would we if there is a packaged wonder like dry cereal that can provide all of the nutrients we need to get our day started? If only this were true.
New York University (NYU) nutrition professor Marion Nestle summarizes the problem with so many of today’s boxed breakfast cereals: “Cereal companies have spent fortunes on convincing parents that a kid’s breakfast means cereal, and that sugary cereals are fun, benign, and all kids will eat… No public health agency has anywhere near the education budget equivalent to that spent on a single cereal. Kids should not be eating sugar for breakfast. They should be eating real food.”

What cereal really is

In reality, cereal is merely a smart packaging of some really cheap commodities like sugar and corn mixed with some even cheaper additives like artificial flavors and colors. Don’t be fooled! These highly processed food fakes have no real nutrients. Most are even sprayed with vitamins and minerals, and sometimes fortified with protein.
You may be familiar with attractive claims on cereal boxes stating such as “All Natural,” “Low Fat,” “Essential Vitamins,” “Good Source of Vitamin A” and more. Even these so-called “healthy” cereals are loaded with synthetic and even toxic additives that make them no more fit for a dog’s bowl than your breakfast table.

GMOs are a real threat

Dry cereal likely contains GMOs and unhealthy additives
Dry cereal likely contains GMOs and unhealthy additives.
Not only are boxed cereals loaded with unhealthy additives, they are often made from genetically modified (GMO) ingredients. According to Consumer Reports, “There is global scientific agreement that genetic engineering has the potential to introduce allergens and toxins in food crops, to change the nutritional value, and to create other unintended changes that may affect human health.”
According to the USDA, the following represents a total percentage of genetically modified cotton, soybean, sugar beet, canola and corn crops grown in the U.S.
  • Cotton (for cottonseed oil): 94 percent
  • Soybeans: 93 percent
  • Sugar Beets: 90 percent
  • Canola: 88 percent
  • Corn: 88 percent
What’s worse, some food manufacturers even acknowledge that they use genetically modified ingredients.

General Mills

General Mills makes this claim on their website: “Because U.S. farmers use GM seed to grow certain crops, 70 percent of foods on U.S. grocery store shelves likely contain GMO ingredients. As a result, if an American food or beverage product lists corn, soy, canola, cottonseed or beet sugar as an ingredient, and if it’s not organic, it likely contains GMOs.”
Note: As of February 2015,  General Mills has spent over $3.6 million to fight GMO labeling initiatives in the U.S.


In February of 2015, representatives from Quaker representatives sent this email to Food Babe regarding GMO’s:
“We do not require or exclude the use of these ingredients, so we don’t require our suppliers to provide this information. As a result, we cannot give you a definitive yes or no answer. That said, we’re glad for the chance to provide some clarification about genetically modified ingredients. When it comes to safety, the FDA has determined that foods developed through this process are no different than foods developed by traditional plant breeding. And in fact they conclude that these Genetically Modified foods don’t differ from other foods in any meaningful way. Finally, all of our products (worldwide) comply with all applicable food laws and labeling requirements.
Note: As of February 2015, Quaker’s parent company, Pepsico, has spent over $8.8 million to fight GMO labeling initiatives in the U.S.


Kellogg’s representatives also sent an email to Food Babe regarding their use of GMO’s.
“Since the majority of our ingredients come from U.S. farms and GM crops have been grown in the U.S. for the past 20 years, our foods likely include ingredients derived from GM crops in the same proportion that they occur in the U.S. food supply.”
Note: As of February 2015, Kellogg’s had spent over $1.8 million to battle GMO labeling initiatives in the U.S.
Noticing a trend? Here are some top dry cereals to avoid:

Honey Smacks

This sickeningly sweet concoction leads the EWG’s list of “10 Worst Children’s Cereals” based on sugar content alone. This cereal is comprised of a whopping 56 percent sugar by weight.
This means that one cup of Smacks actually has more sugar than a Twinkie. On this statistic, Dr. Andrew Weil, a health expert, comments, “The fact that a children’s breakfast cereal is 56 percent sugar by weight — and many others are not far behind — should cause national outrage.”
Honey Smacks also contain trans fats in the form of hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated soybean oil. This is listed in the ingredients, but not calculated into the fat percentage on the nutrition label.
A few years ago, the FDA decided that trans fat content only needs to be listed if the food contains 0.5 grams or more per serving. If trans fats are included, but in less than this concentration, it can be listed as zero percent. This is absolutely egregious because, as we all know, servings add up.
Another ingredient featured in Honey Smacks is BHT or butylated hydroxytoluene. Used as a preservative, BHT is also used in jet fuel, petroleum products, rubber and embalming fluid. It also shares chemical properties with toluene, a highly toxic solvent that has been linked to neurological problems when inhaled.
If this weren’t enough, Honey Smacks have less than one gram of fiber.

Froot Loops

Fruit Loops cereal contains 41.1 percent sugar by weight.
Fruit Loops cereal contains 41.1 percent sugar by weight.
The very first ingredient on the nutrition label on a box of Froot Loops is sugar. In fact, this cereal weighs in at 41.4 percent sugar by weight. Froot Loops also contains trans fat and BHT. It does have several “natural fruit flavors,” but there is absolutely no real fruit.
Froot Loops is, in fact, a rainbow of artificial colorings: red 40, blue 1 and 2, and yellow 6, to be specific. Artificial colorings have been linked to hyperactivity in children by multiple studies. They are potential triggers of mild to severe allergic reactions, especially in those sensitive to aspirin.
Additionally, blue 2 has been linked to cancer in lab rats in some experiments. Red 40 is under investigation by some researchers as a possible carcinogen. Yellow 6 has been linked by some studies to cancer of the adrenals and kidneys, and also to digestive issues.
One other potentially harmful — and untested — component of Froot Loops: GMO corn. As 85 percent of the corn and soy grown in the United States today is genetically modified, products containing non-organic corn are very often made of GMO varieties.

Apple Jacks

Sugar, not apples, is the first ingredient in Apple Jacks, followed by corn flour (most probably GMO), wheat flour (possibly GMO), oat flour, more sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup, then salt.
While apple juice and dried apples are included, the pesticides that non-organic apples introduce in the mix could outweigh the health benefits of the fruit. Apple Jacks contains 42.9 percent sugar by weight, less than one gram of fiber, and nearly 130 grams of sodium per serving. Apple Jacks also contain BHT, blue 1 and red 40.

Golden Crisps

Coming in at second place on the EWG’s “10 Worst Children’s Cereals List,” Golden Crisp is 51.9 percent sugar by weight. It also contains trans fat (even if the label says zero), caramel color and almost no fiber.

French Toast Crunch

You are far better off to have a piece of real French toast drizzled with organic maple syrup than you are to have a bowl of this sugary mess. This cereal gets 40 percent of its calories from sugar and contains processed corn syrup, refined syrup plus flavor and color additives.

Reese’s Puffs

Right away, you should know that this is not going to go well — this cereal is named after a candy that is packed with sugar and useless calories. This cereal is just a slight improvement over the peanut butter cup. However, it contains yellow 5 and 6. In addition, 33 percent of all calories in this cereal come from sugar.

Lucky Charms

Lucky Charms cereal contains sugar, modified corn starch, corn syrup and more.
Lucky Charms cereal contains sugar, modified corn starch, corn syrup and more.
These so-called magically delicious charms are not so lucky after all. Lucky Charms may have whole grains as the first ingredient, but this is quickly followed by marshmallows (a.k.a. sugar), modified corn starch, corn syrup, dextrose, gelatin, artificial dyes and flavors. Just one cup of these unlucky charms will provide the American Heart Association’s daily added sugar limit for one day. As you can see, it has next to no nutritional goodness.

Rice Krispies

Rice Krispies made the list because they are often seen as a “healthier” option due to the significantly lower sugar content. While it is true that Rice Krispies won’t spike blood sugar like many other cereals, it is anything but healthy. It contains trans fats, BHT, soy ingredients, possible GMO grains and absolutely no fiber.

Raisin Bran

Yes, Raisin Bran may be the best of the worst but that is not really saying much. It contains 18 grams of sugar and 46 grams of carbohydrates. In total, 38 percent of all calories in this cereal come from sugar.

JIF Peanut Butter Cereal

Kellogg’s is responsible for this fake peanut butter breakfast catastrophe. With 40 percent of all calories coming from sugar, this cereal also contains hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Corn Pops

Corn Pops cereal contains dangerous hydrogenated oils.
Corn Pops cereal contains dangerous hydrogenated oils.
A Kellogg’s favorite, Corn Pops don’t have any fat and less than 10 grams for sugar, but they contain very dangerous hydrogenated oils. These are known to cause elevated bad cholesterol, strokes and even heart attacks. To give the pops their lovely golden shade, Annatto is used. Although this is considered a natural dye, studies have shown that this dye can cause just as many allergic reactions as synthetic dyes.

If you must have cereal, try these

If it is completely necessary that you consume dry cereal, here are some brands that are not made with GMOs. They are also generally free of pesticides and healthier than other boxed offerings:
  • Go Raw
  • Kais Foods
  • Laughing Giraffe
  • Lydia’s Organic
  • Ambrosial Granola
  • Nature’s Path Organics

The best option

Of course, the best possible option for all meals is to eat real, whole and organic food. Although it may take a few minutes to prepare, real food is loaded with nutrients that your body needs to thrive. It is worth it every time!
— Susan Patterson