My Effortless Method To Clean All Your Brushes in 5 Minutes

5 effortless minutes to clean all your brushes for better health (via TheHealthMinded.com) #health #cleaning #beauty

You could safely classify me as a clean freak. (My family is nodding their heads affirmatively, certainly.) I have written about the topic before: cleaning to avoid the flu herecleaning your air here, cleaning your bathroom here . . .well you get the idea.  I suppose it wouldn't hurt to cover my incredibly easy way to clean all your brushes, too. Why not?

It may seem overkill, but those brushes you use daily to brush your hair, your teeth, your body, your face, and your dishes deserve a little attention on a regular basis. They can get overlooked. So, let's easily fix that!

Which Brushes To Clean and Why

Gather these brushes for a regular cleaning:
  • facial and make-up brushes
  • dry brushes
  • hairbrushes
  • toothbrushes
  • dish washing brushes
And, here's why:

Clean brushes make you look better and get the job done faster.  Your clean brushes will work better when they are clean as the bristles won't get matted or misshapen or collect dust and germs.

Clean brushes save you money.  They will last longer and you won't have to replace them.

You won't get sick.  Clean brushes greatly reduce the chance of a germs being spread or infections that can form from dirt and germs. Infections may require antibiotics which are tough on your digestive system and can be tough to treat, too. Doctor visits cost money, as well.

Brush Cleaning Tips

Before we get to "the how," let's cover a few little tips to brush through this process and make cleaning your tools a tiny, easy task . . .

A quick scrub right before bed.  The best time to clean your brushes is at night after you have used them for the day.  That way they can dry all night and be squeaky clean for you the next morning.

One full sweep every other week (or so) should do.  Instead of making a separate cleaning task for each type of brush, wash them all at once. I gather them all and begin the task.  That way the supplies are there ready to go.

Keep it to 2.  The two supplies I gather are so simple: baby shampoo or a gentle hand soap, a sink or bucket of warm water. (Does that even count as a supply?)

Hang over the edge.  I like to dry my brushes with the brush (not the handle) hanging over the sink edge so that the air circulates all night and they are always dry by morning.

Types of Brushes to Clean Regularly and How

Here are five brushes to clean on a regular basis. Since I usually clean them all at once at the end of the day after I have used them, the whole process takes me five little minutes or less.  I start with the first type of brush and then move on to the rest.

1.  Facial and Make-Up Brushes: These brushes take the longest of all the brushes to clean, but still not long. I do this by my bathroom sink. Here are the steps for each make-up brush:
  1. Pour a small dot of baby shampoo in my palm. Add a trickle of warm water and blend with my fingers.
  2. Take my first make-up brush and swirl the tips of the brush using a gentle circular motion to work up a lather so that the soap is distributed throughout the bristles. Don't press down too hard as you swirl, since this can damage the bristles. 
  3. Turn on the tap and rinse the brush in a gentle stream of warm (not hot) water. Rotate the brush to make sure all the soap is removed. Be careful not to allow water into the brush barrels/handles.
  4. Keep washing until water  runs clear of soap and make-up.
  5. Lay the brush to dry on towel with brush head over sink edge so that air can circulate. Reshape bristles if necessary.

2/3.  Dry Brush/Hairbrush:  If you don't dry brush, maybe you should!  Lots of reasons why here.

I clean these next two brushes together and here is how:
  1. In the sink, pull up the stopper and fill the bowl halfway with warm water and a trickle of baby shampoo. Swish around to create a lather.
  2. Place brushes in the water and let soak for a minute or two. While they are soaking, go brush your teeth somewhere else. Your toothbrush is next!
  3. Come back and scrub the bristles a bit with your hands.
  4. Let water drain from sink.
  5. Rinse brushes well under warm water.
  6. Allow them to air dry on towel.

4/5.  Toothbrush and Dish Washing Brush/Sponge:  This is the last step of my brush cleaning routine and it is the easiest.

It is a one-step wonder: I put both of these brushes in the dishwasher to sterilize them and let the dishwasher do all the work! Yes, even The American Dental Association suggests it!

I am a bit of a fanatic about dental care (see here).  I replace my toothbrush a lot.  But, here are some great tips from the American Dental Association on how to keep those toothbrushes up to speed and ready to create pearly whites and be cavity free.

Cleaning devices in the kitchen like brushes and sponges really collect germs!  I throw mine in the dishwasher each night when I run it to sterilize it.  I replace those brushes/sponges frequently, too.

Did I miss a brush? Uh-oh. Enlighten me in the comments, please, and provide any tips you have as well!

Need a bit more?

  • After all that cleaning, treat yourself to a nice bath. Try it this way!
Make sure you don't miss a healthy thing!
  • Join in on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+, too! Just click on the "connect box" in the upper right hand corner to link in there, too.
  • And, it would be a shame if you missed a health promoting post! Don't forget to enter your email address in the box in the sidebar, "Follow by email." 


Clean The Indoor Air You Breathe in One Easy Step

Clean the Indoor Air Your Breathe In One Easy Step: Houseplants that Help (via TheHealthMinded.com)  #health

Green is associated with healing, with life, with tranquility and it certainly is the pervasive color in our natural world.  No wonder one of America's founding father's, George Washington, chose it as his favorite color!

Eating your greens is an important practice for good health but did you know those "greens" in some very common houseplants can do some pretty magical stuff besides adding to your decor scheme? A NASA study says so. The study finds that there are many varieties that are especially good at purifying our indoor air. Frequent exposure to indoor air pollutants can increase our allergen load and exposure to toxicity. Not good.

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

It is hard to believe that inside our homes, the air could be considered polluted. We typically assume that to be within the city limits of some of the smoggiest cities, but, it's true. It can happen in our very own homes. Here is how it happens:

  • Many products that we use every day and materials we use to furnish our homes can contribute in a negative way to the air we breath inside our homes.
  • Both formaldehyde and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) are found in them. PCB, banned from production in the U.S. in 1970, persists in such things as sealants, paints and wood floor finishes. 
  • Asbestos, another source of indoor air pollution that has been banned, also still lingers in older homes, insulation materials, textured paints and floor tiles.
  • Formaldehyde is widely used in the building industry for materials and most commonly found in pressed wood products that are used for things like subflooring, shelving, cabinets and furniture, but it is also common in permanent-press fabrics, adhesives and paints.

Two Common Plants to Clear Indoor Air 

Yes, it all sounds rather omnious, but we can relax a bit as nature has provided a way to help clear the air. Two plants especially good at filtering these common indoor air pollutants and that are also especially easy to find are the Aloe Vera plant and English Ivy. Pick one or two (or three) up in your area and give them a home. Here's some information on each and just how to keep them happy and thriving:


5 Foods You're Probably Cooking The Wrong Way

Nutrients can be lost in cooking. Find 5 Foods You May Be Cooking The Wrong Way (via TheHealthMinded.com)

I don't want to alarm you or, certainly not, insult you either. But, you may be doing it all wrong! It's great you are in the kitchen preparing healthy meals for you and your family, but you may be taking some incorrect measures or incorporating methods of cooking that nullifies all your good efforts.

Yes, it's true. The preparation and cooking methods you choose may alter its nutritional content. You may be reducing the antioxidants, fiber and even switching around the make-up of all those good-for-you foods! So, let's find out how to fix all that!

Cook Your Foods A Better Way

Many of the following foods could be classified into superpower status in regards to promoting good health, but there are a few tricks and considerations when cooking them to ensure you are getting every last drop of their powers. Here it goes:

1.  Let it rest.  Although many do chew raw garlic for its abundant health properties (see here), that is going a bit far for my taste buds. To get the biggest health boost from garlic when cooking, mince it, slice it or press it, and then let it rest for 10 minutes. This allows the allicin, the main healing ingredient in garlic, to formulate.  If you rush it by mincing it and throwing it in the hot pot right away, you expose the garlic to heat and destroy all the magic. Remember: 10 little minutes.

2.  Slice the right bulb.  Sweet onions are sweet all the way around and are a healthy choice, but they don't carry quite the health punch as the more robust red and yellow ones (see here). Keep the sweet to raw preparations like salads, sandwiches, etc. and make sure you peel the pungent onion varieties to get those stews and soups started or to make anything cooked. Remember: Stronger onions means stronger powers.

3.  No longer than 5.   To retain the most vitamins for those nutrient-dense cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, don't cook them very long, studies show.  Keep these vegetables in uniform, smaller pieces and steam them for 5 minutes and add spices for flavor.  Yes, steamed vegetables can be a snoozer, but adding your favorite spices, fresh herbs and oils to season them, will both enhance the flavor and their cancer-fighting nutrients. Here are some great examples of just how to do that.

Try a pan saute as a quick steam technique as well using a bit of water and no oil. It works great for snap peas, greens and other quick cooking vegetables (low calorie too). If you choose to stir fry or roast, keep the cooking time short as well. Remember: Shorter cooking, longer life.

4.  Create the right smoke.  Don't burn your dish by choosing a cooking oil with the correct smoke-point for the temperature you are using. Check out my post on oil choices, smoke points and which oils are best to use for certain types of cooking here.  Oils that contain high smoke points are healthier to cook with and do not ruin your dish by allowing it to burn.

So, leave your expensive extra virgin olive oil (with a lower smoke point) for raw salads and non-cooked foods where you can really appreciate the flavor of it, too, and choose an avocado oil (with a high smoke point) for a more intense heat cooking method like a stir-fry. Remember: hot pan, right oil.

5.  Keepin' the skin.  Many of the nutrients in vegetables and fruits like apples, potatoes and carrots are found in or just under the skin. When we remove the peel, we strip that away. Look here for great details on that.

If possible, try and scrub them clean and cook leaving the skin on. If you must peel them, try to just take a thin layer.  Mashed potatoes that I steam using the Yukon Gold variety work great for me with the peels left on (less work, too!) Remember: outer layers, inner goodness.

Tell us, do you have a favorite tip to throw in when it comes to getting the most our of your healthy cooking? Please share!

Need a bit more?

  • Make sure you are seasoning your dishes with the healthiest of salts. Try sprinkling this one on your creations in the kitchen for better mineral levels and more.
Make sure you don't miss a healthy thing!
  • Join in on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+, too! Just click on the "connect box" in the upper right hand corner to link in there, too.
  • And, it would be a shame if you missed a health promoting post! Don't forget to enter your email address in the box in the sidebar, "Follow by email." 


How A 5 Minute Task Can Help You Avoid The Flu

How to take 5 minutes a day to avoid getting sick (via TheHealthMinded.com)

Pass the tissues. It's cold, flu and other yucky, no fun virus season! Some areas of the world are suffering pretty hard with it, so you can bet you will be exposed to it. But, it doesn't mean you will actually suffer from it. We can't hide out all winter to avoid bodily contact with strangers, but we can take a few other tiny measures to lower our contact to those virus germs and those measures are pretty simple!

Of course, keeping our immunity strong with other healthy habits (here are lots) like good quality sleep, a diet rich in various whole food nutrients, a balanced stress level, etc., is crucial to staying flu free,  but there are some other little, quick things we can do that don't take a lot of time or effort that can have big returns, too. Come check them out.  It won't take long.

What to Clean (And a Few Other Tips) To Avoid Getting Sick

Cleaning is never on top of someone's bucket list, exactly . . . not mine anyway. But I promise, these cleaning tasks are simple and quick. Swiping a few surfaces daily (or near daily) could help you avoid the pain and suffering of the flu.  If you think about it, getting sick is actually a lot more time consuming and interruptive to your life than a 5 minute cleaning habit. So, if you are still with me and I have not lost you yet, let's get on with it. Let's try to incorporate these tiny tasks to stay out of the doctor's office with the flu, shall we?:

Start with you.  Wash your hands. Before meals, always, and other times, too! Every time a family member comes in our house, we head straight to the sink and wash our hands.  Here is the proper technique cause a quick rinse won't kill the germs. You gotta take the time to do it right.

Keep your hands to yourself.  With those clean hands (and especially not recently washed hands!), do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth.  Those are entries for germs.  Nail bitters - please quit.

Moisturize your skin.  You may not catch the flu from cracked skin, but you can create other bad infections.  Cracked skin is an opening for bacteria and germs to enter and make a real mess. Keep your favorite moisturizer by the sink, your bed, your TV - anywhere to remind you to take care of those hands that are exposed to so much. I use coconut oil as it works great for me if I have a minute to allow it to sink in.  It is also naturally anti-bacterial.


Health News: The Latest Skinny

Learn the latest health news with these great links.

I like to keep abreast of the news - including the health news. (Of course!) But, no need to keep it all to myself. That just wouldn't be right! Besides, I don't want to. There is a lot of great news out there! So, please, listen up, if you like, to keep up-to-date when I periodically share the low down on the latest stuff I found of interest in the health arena that you may want to hear about, too!

Links to Your Health

To keep you "in the know" and to be even more mindful of your health, sit back and catch up on a few healthy things I caught this week . . .

1.  Don't just warm your toes - apparently, your nose, too! Could this be why more colds are caught in wintertime?

2.  If your cholesterol is not where you need it to be, you may want to stock up on some avocados . . . or plant a tree or two in your backyard.

3.  I consider myself fairly adventurous in trying new foods, but this health craze? I just don't think I could partake!  What about you? If you have, please share in the comments and let us know how that went down.

4.  Get your kids to bed on time. Those math and language scores may sore!


3 and a Half Things to Make with Clementines

3 and a half things to make with that box of clementines

Clementines make me happy.  And, I like to spread their happiness in my home, in our kitchen particularly. I frequently have a footed bowl filled with them on the counter.  It provides a burst of cheery, sunshiny color where my family can easily grab a few as they are going out the door or peel one or two while we are chatting while I am preparing dinner. They serve as a simple, decorating trick and they provide a quick burst of refreshment and a light little snack at the same time. They are easy to peel and no wonder some varieties are called "cuties."

Health Benefits of Clementines

Clementines do way more than look pretty and act cute.  Next time you pop one or two in your mouth, think about what else you are doing here:

What goes inside can make the outside look good, too.  Clementines are a great food for our skin.   The citric acid, Vitamin C and many other antioxidants are abundant in them, which aids in collagen creation and reduction of free-radical damage.

They clear things up.  Clementines contains a rich amount of ascorbic acid and beta carotene - both crucial for better vision.

Your trainer will be impressed. They are a great food for those watching the waistline. Clementines contain very low amounts of sugar and fat. The fiber in them makes you feel full and the hydration they provide help you feel satisfied as well.


How Thin People Stay Thin

what thin people do to stay thin

We all come in different shapes and sizes. All good by me! But, some are not happy with either their shape or their size.  It is a shame our society is so overly obsessed with what the scale says as plenty of thin people are not very healthy at all and studies show it is not a measure of our health in all cases.  But, generally, maintaining a good range of weight for our height can be one indication of how well our body is operating.

Plenty of people this time of year want to shed the holiday indulgence pounds or are making losing weight a new years resolution. Those gyms are extra crowded these days and specialized diet programs are getting lots of sign-ons right about now. But, despite these kind of efforts and if you are not in the "naturally thin" camp, there may be other things to consider too to reach your goal.

What Skinny People Do

Do "naturally thin" people exist primarily because of genetics? For some, perhaps so.  But, other traits can play a big role in our weight, too.

Leaving food and exercise habits out of the equation and not taking into account whether or not the lean and mean make healthy food choices, exercise regularly, are snackers or grazers or stick to three square meals a day, I have noticed many thin people share some other similarities too:

They sleep well.  Of course, everyone has a sleepless night or two, but I have noted that generally thin people sleep pretty well.  There is a lot of research on this and about weight and sleep patterns (here and here).  If sleeping well consistently is tough for you, I wrote a post about techniques on getting good shut-eye here that may help.

They have a lot of interests.  They are not obsessed over food or even if they are, they can wait until they get to enjoy it later as they are so busy doing other interesting things or engaged in life, they are not thinking about consuming food constantly. So, hobbies are good, real good. Find a job you really like and you may lose a few, too.


7 Ways to Detox Every Day . . . (without even thinking about it)

7 easy ways to detox your body daily

A friend said to me the other day that she couldn't join our regular group lunch because she was "doing a 3-day juice cleanse."  We still got together, though - just not arranged around meal time. I hear that phrase "doing a cleanse" and see the prepared kits of juices and whatnot all over the Internet.  It may be just the ticket to get someone on the right track for a healthier start. But, for others, it may be only a temporary diversion from their unhealthy ways for the few days of "the cleanse." But, whichever it is, no judgement here. The choice is yours for what works for you to pay more attention to your health and your part in creating it.

Daily Habits to Detox Every Day

More likely, it is the daily habits we do (and not do) that create our best health.  A 3-day cleanse probably can't makeup for a 300-day binge on oreos, potato chips and bottles of soda (unless you use that cleanse as a beginning to better awareness). So, here are a few ways that you can incorporate into your everyday life to create an on-going cleanse that won't cause hunger pangs:

1.  Begin gently.  Start your day off with warm water and lemon (explained why here), a few gentle stretches and some positive thoughts in there, too, for the day.

2.  Breathe it in.  Incorporate some deep breathes throughout the day to clean out your lungs and bring oxygen to all your cells in your body. In case you need to learn how to breath, here are some tips on how one doctor says to do it.

3.  Play rough.  Roughage or fiber and lots of it keep your digestive system moving. Here are some high fiber foods to eat daily to help with that.

4.  Create heat.  Sweating out toxins that can build up in our liver and cells can be done in many ways: aerobic exercise where you build up a sweat, saunas, and a bath routine like this one all help.


Health Plans: How to Get Organized To Create Your Optimal Health

create a plan to be better organized for your health

Let's make some plans, shall we? Health plans that is. Let's begin the new year together with a healthy start. But, what else would you expect from The Health-Minded? After all, I don't want to disappoint.

I am kicking the new year off with a new monthly feature, Health Plans, that will include a few suggested action items to take each month to becoming better organized for your health.  Those words - "getting organized" - can bring on some pretty hefty groans, I know, but, fear not! I won't overwhelm you with a long "to do" list. Instead, I will break down a few actions you can choose to take each month to make improving your health and keeping it easier, aide you in achieving your goals and offer some tools to do just that as well.

Some tasks will only take a few moments, some may not even apply to you at all, but others may take a bit of effort, I admit.  But, all of them, I can assure you, can help you be a healthier version of you and keep you living the healthy life!

How Being Organized Can Make You Healthier

Don't buy in to this whole "healthy organization concept"? Allow me to attempt to convince you that being organized has lots of big health benefits for you.  Lookie here:

You may smile more.  Stressed-out people don't smile much. Being organized can bring on a big grin and lower your stress and thus lower that major contributor to chronic disease. Sometimes you can't even detect stress in yourself, but I bet it is there. Now, I can't promise you that being organized will eliminate every stressful situation in your life. It won't. But, it can help avoid additional stress.  That, it will do.  When you are better organized about being able to find important medical documents, making appointments and keeping them, preparing a nourishing meal, sticking to an exercise plan, making better connections, and even taking a vacation, you will feel less stress and better able to focus on other things. Hopefully, more meaningful or fun things.

Watch your energy climb.  Constant disarray can make one feel overwhelmed, unmotivated and inadequate. None of that is good for your mood, self-concept, productivity and puts a real damper on your joie de vivre.  When you have a plan and carry it out, you can find time to experience all that life can offer and focus on things you enjoy or that require your undivided attention.

You may improve your numbers.  Being organized can help lower your blood pressure readings, improve your cholesterol levels, lower the scale and more! For one, when your kitchen is stocked with healthier choices and your grocery shopping and meals are planned, you will eat better and be on your way to creating some great numbers!