Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How to Clean the iPlant Sprouter!

Hi. I posted a review on the iPlant Garden Sprouter a while back.  Recently someone asked questions about the screens, how to clean, grow etc.  So here is a post just about that.  As many of you know, I am learning a vegan diet based upon the Hippocrates Health Institute training I am currently taking, which advocates 50% of your meals be sprouts. So I am learning best ways and am serious about growing them the best and easiest way possible. 

Before you put any sprouts in your iplant, soak them over night. This will help them germinate and grow faster.  Fill your iPlant water area between the min and max line and check it every day.  You can even mix about 1/4 tsp of baking soda into the water container which will help ward off any mold build up.  At least every 24 hours, the water should be changed out.  Use the old water to hydrate your garden patio or house plants, its great for that!

I have been sprouting daily since March using a double decker iPlant and my screens are still in good shape.  I have also been careful with them.  To clean them (and its ok to eat the roots too on the smaller sprouts) I gently pull all the sprouts at harvest (about 7 days) and then I use the spray nozzle in my kitchen sink faucet along with a soft veggie scrubber or nail scrubber, to gently get all the remaining sprout material off the screen. The screens will naturally darken a bit from the bright white and when they do, I soak them in hot water with a bit of bleach, couple of tablespoons of bleach to enough water to completely submerge the trays and I leave them to soak a while. 

Now, as I am in very heavy rotation, I have also ordered extra trays, too. You will want to thoroughly clean your iPlant machine after each use but I will admit I typically just wipe mine down well with a complete cleaning once a month. 

As we take this journey together, I am here for you so feel free to reach out with any compliments or questions you have please.  :)  Namaste.

Wheat Grass - How To Grow The Best

Loved it, hated it?  My husband is really fine with the flavor.  Me?  Gag, not so much. Even with these adorable skull glasses, I am still nonplussed with the flavor.  No, I realize how freaking healthy it is to do, how the mineral content can even change gray hair back to your natural colour, so I force myself to shoot it down.  Because it is so detoxing and works quickly, some people can feel a bit nauseated after a shot of the magic green.  I feel fine after getting it's the getting it down I struggle personally with.  With my Hippocrates Training I learned a few secrets lately to help get the best mineral and vitamin content as well as the best (ahem) flavor.

Growing your own wheat grass is going to be, by far, the least cost and the freshest.  One way is with organic soil in a 10x10 Tray with 1 cup of wheat grass and about 1/2 inch of soil.  After 3 days of soaking and rinsing them, it take about 7 days for the grass to be ready.  If you go this route, with soil, you will find that most of it gets absorbed by the plant so its really not as messy a process as what I was initially envisioning when I decided to go hydroponic.

I use the Prodyne appetizer tray to grow my Wheat Grass.  This system can also be used for Mung beans and Sunflower sprouts.  For the mineral content, I use SeaCal fertilizer in my water mixture as I am not using any soil.  You should get about 4-6 shots out of this method depending upon how much wheat grass seed you lay down. This may mean that you, as I did, purchase 3 or 4 appetizer trays so you always have a rotation going.  You will have the best results using just one layer so I began using 2 cups, per tray, but now I have less yield, less dense but better overall results with 1 or 1.5 cups of seed.  NEVER place ANY sprouts you are doing in direct sunlight.  For Wheat Grass, it will turn bitter and that absolutely isn't good for anybody (Think bitter beer face).

Instructions as follows:

Step 1 - Germinating the seeds
Day 1 Rinse seeds and place in container, cover with 3xH20 and soak 12 hours.
Day 2 Drain and rinse and soak another 12 hours.
Day 3 Drain rinse and soak a third time 12 hours.
The seeds expand which helps germination, hastening sprouting and minimizing mold.
Day 4 Drain and rinse a final time.

Step 2 - Line the bottom of your tray with paper towels (you can cut them to size) This helps to keep them from falling through the tray vent holes.
Step 3 - Lay down your layer of soaked seeds.
Step 4 - Fill the appetizer dish with water
Step 5 - Spray them morning and evening with water.  I like to add a 1/4 tsp of baking soda which helps inhibit mold.  If you do end up with a bit of mold on the root system, that can be rinsed off.  You are cutting above the root line anyway.

I like to add just a bit of water to my appetizer tray at the beginning, then toss it and renew with the vitamin water (adding the SeaCal)

In a few days, you will see a green blade appearing.  In about 7 days (after placing in the tray) you should see the joint or where there is the very beginning of a new leaf coming up after the first original blade.  NOW is time to harvest, the grass is at its peak.

So the key things are 1) Never direct sunlight.  Your kitchen counter is perfect. 2) Spray 2x a day 3)You want it to be the very freshest which means growing it yourself is best and finally 4) Harvest at the beginning of the joint, once you see that 2nd blade begin to pop up, harvest the entire tray!  Keep it in a bag in the fridge, keeps for a week or get a green grow bag for nearly double the life.

Let me know please if I can help answer any questions too.  When I first began this journey I had a plethora of them and am still learning as I go along.  Cheers!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Health and Budget - The Holistic Approach to Daily Finances

Most everyone has experienced a situation which has left you financially bereft; a divorce, major illness or loss of employment.  This will not address crisis situations, at least not directly.  Rather this is about daily budgeting and how failing to do it robs a lot of positive energy/good Karma from you life.
Making Time to Pay Bills - Late Paying/Always Behind? - It begins by loving and respecting yourself enough to budget and take the necessary steps to take care of you. Not only does paying things on time lower the cost of doing business and therefore the cost of living, when you come from a position of strength, when your house is in order, then you have more opportunity to be of help to others, to pay all that goodness forward!

Debt Stress -  Owing money can be quite stressful, particularly if a deadline is looming and you didn't plan ahead and budget for the expense.  Opportunities, from getting a fantastic job, an apartment, the very best interest rates or simply being able to buy something you really want, are all significantly affected by whether you pay bills on time. Paying bills late actually has a big impact on health.  Our minds never truly stop turning over what we have left to finish.  Completing tasks, clearing your to do list, getting your financial house in order and reducing clutter in your life, increase ease in the mind and provide fresh positive energy.  Setting and adhering to a healthy budget, allows you to be in control.  Let this clean slate free you up mentally.

Getting Your Head Into It - While sitting down to pay bills may feel more like bending over and begging other people and organizations to please take all your money, there is a spiritual component to consciously engaging and putting positive energy into paying what is owed. With debts no longer hanging over your head you can move forward with new energy that can be devoted to other things.

Budget? What Budget? -  Most of us make enough to cover our needs and some of our wants.  Then once we have them met, suddenly our needs and wants expand farther, stretching our budget to the max.   Ads to buy this or that are all over the place.  You cannot create inner peace or fill a lack of joy inside you with something you shop for.  I think a lot of times when we feel the need to shop, it is because we have lost our way, need to stop, breath, get out in nature and ask our heart what it is we truly want.   Sometimes we must simply say no to the advertisements and honor ourselves and the spirit of money.  You never have to keep up with the Jones's, you only ever need to keep up with yourself.

 Debt - Whether you are current on your bills or way behind, most of us have some debt. For long term debts, such as credit cards, and personal loans, many folks like to pay the highest interest rate debt off first.  For creating cash flow and realizing faster results, I suggest paying off your smallest debt first, followed by your next smallest, etc. Meet the minimums on everything else, but pay as much extra each month toward the debt you are wanting to pay off, as you can, until it is done.   It is surprising how fast the goals can be accomplished and the feeling is just amazing.   All of us owe rent or a mortgage or taxes on property.  Debts never stop until we do. And having a few debts, especially what is considered 'smart debt' such as a home, a rental property or perhaps a degree, is not exactly a bad thing.
The goal here is to create the most cash flow, and as quickly as possible, for your health, peace of mind, and feeling of abundance.  When we feel stuck, we don't feel abundant. We can feel stuck when we have so much debt that we are afraid to scale back or pursue a dream.  Having a nest egg saved, all bills current and cash left over at the end of every month, generates a feeling of potential and opportunities.  Rather than bemoan fate, understand that firstly, by predominately your own choices, you are where you are right now.  Take a healthier view and look at it like housekeeping, as something that is a part of life, something we all must do.  Doing this will leave you feeling lighter, accomplished, clean and happier!  The end resulting cash flow will empower you.

Live Abundantly! - True abundance isn't about wealth, but about how well, how balanced and how peacefully you live. Honestly, I love it when people say Time is Money because it sure is!  I feel richest when I have the most spare time.  No matter how much I am earning, if I am putting in 16 hour days, a part of me feels decidedly poor.  When you live below your means, saving regularly, you will find there is less you really want to fill your life up with.  You will become more selective in what you spend your time on and what you purchase.  You will gain significant confidence as your savings grow and your cash flow improves.  Living abundantly is also about maintaining a true work and life balance where you have some life left at the end of the work day.  Since scaling back my long work hours, I have vastly more time to engage in other more calm pursuits, such as yoga, walks, cooking, baking, spending more time with my family and not feeling so rushed in everything I do.  That, my friends, is abundance!

Create Your Savings - Owing money is a psychological drain. Again, having some debt is ok.  And most of us will always have monthly bills (gas, food, heat).  Just keep in mind that when you take on significant debt, what you owe also holds you in place.  I have been so in debt I could not leave a job where hours were insane and ruining my health.  I have watched retirement aged folks keep working because they have too much debt to stop.  Debt can equal fear and when we act out of fear based feelings, no good really comes of it.  The best approach is to create monthly cash flow, by slowly taking control of debt.  Catch yourself up, regularly save for both long term/retirement and emergency/short term concerns, which you place in a separate account.  Separate accounts are great because you can mentally designate what is put away and what can be used now to pay bills etc.

At my house, we have several accounts; a Monthly Expenses Account, a Fun/Vacation Account, a Long Term Savings Account, and a Short Term Savings Account for emergencies or higher than expected monthly bills.  I try hard to pretend the savings accounts don't exist unless its time to use them.  We have direct deposit and that really is the absolute best way to do this if you can. Otherwise, you are physically making deposits manually every month and it can get tempting to change the amounts or just not do it.   IF you must do this manually, take heart and just make it happen, regularly because again, you are paying yourself first.  All greatness flows from first respecting and taking care of yourself.