35 Sizzling Suggestions For Bicarb (That’s Baking Soda!)

Before I continue here, just so we all know, Bicarb Soda is Baking Soda – same thing, different name!

Replacing your commercial cleaning products with baking soda (or bicarb soda) is simple and effective and can go a long way towards turning your house into a ‘Healthy Home’.
Replacing your commercial cleaning products with baking soda (or bicarb soda) is simple and effective and can go a long way towards turning your house into a ‘Healthy Home’.

When you are trying to get healthy but you don’t want to cause too much disruption all at once, sometimes the smart thing to do is to look at what you already have in your home and to ask yourself – what else can I do with this? How else can it benefit me and my family? What have I missed here?

It is becoming more and more common for children in particular to develop health problems as a reaction to the chemicals they encounter in their foods or their environment, whether this is the air, water, cleaning products or items such as furnishings. While for these children it is vital that they are exposed to less chemical toxins, it is better for all of us if we too are exposed to fewer harmful toxic elements.

It is always worth remembering that ‘safe levels of exposure’ on cleaning products and personal care products are calculated on the basis of you being exposed for just that one time, to that one product, only in the amount specified. What these level calculations do not take into account is that the same possibly harmful substance that is being evaluated occurs in many, many products that are commonly in daily use, in addition to the one being tested and assessed.

Even if the quantity of the chemical in a single product is within the levels that are deemed safe, there are maybe ten or twenty other products used every day that  have that level of the chemical in them also, and this adds up to exposure to much more of the chemical than the ‘safe level’. The quantity in all these different products accumulates very quickly into an unsafe amount of exposure. Which is all the more reason to seek out healthier alternatives to most cleaning products, skin and hair care products.

Of course this doesn’t even take into consideration the concern about all the environmental pollutants that are being washed down the drains and into the waterways along with all these cleaning and personal care products.

There are lots of things in your pantry right now that you are most likely not getting the most benefit from.

Bicarbonate of soda, baking soda in the US, sodium bicarbonate, or soda ash, is a perfect example of one of these items. Most of us have it in the cupboard to use in our cooking, but it has many other uses that can go a long way towards turning our house into a ‘Healthy Home’. At the same time it can be a simple and very effective ways to improve our health.

It seems so much easier when we are all so busy to just grab ready-made cleaning products from the shop shelf but the reality is that these products generally contain many toxic ingredients, and you have no way of knowing what these are as the manufacturers are not required to list all the ingredients.

Making your own cleaning products is a great money saver! At first it may seem confusing but it very quickly becomes easy and you can make products ahead ready to use.

The other bonus is that home made cleaning products work really well!

My bathroom cleaning kit. Replacing your commercial cleaning products with baking soda and other natural products is simple and effective and can go a long way towards turning our house into a ‘Healthy Home’
My bathroom cleaning kit. Replacing your commercial cleaning products with baking soda and other natural products is simple and effective and can go a long way towards turning our house into a ‘Healthy Home’

There are now a number of cleaning companies that actually operate using only home-made natural cleaning products, made from vinegar, lemon and of course bicarb soda, among others. As a cleaning product bicarb soda can make a big impact. It has a gentle excoriating property that is able to help remove even difficult to remove grime.

Bicarb soda works to clean mainly as an abrasive although there is a small amount of chemical reaction involved. It reacts with grease to form glycerol, an ingredient commonly found in soap. When mixed with vinegar it forms carbonic acid, a weak acid that improves the corrosive action of the vinegar.

It also neutralizes unpleasant odours without simply masking them, and acts as a neutralizer and when it comes into contact with something that is either too acidic or too alkaline. It will bring them back to a neutral pH as well as to then retard further changes in the pH, to buffer it.


Bicarb soda works very simply but can have a significant effect. So here are my 35  ‘anti-corporation, anti-unecessary-toxins, pro-simple-clean & healthy home’ ways to use bicarb soda to great effect in your home.


1. Remove stubborn stains: Apply a paste of three parts bicarb soda and one part water. Let it stand then scrub and wipe clean.

2. Toilet stains: Use in the toilet to prevent stains developing in the porcelain. This is particularly useful in areas with hard, mineral-rich water. Once a week sprinkle baking soda in the bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then spray with vinegar to moisten it. Scrub with the brush and flush away.

3. Clean baths and tiles: Sprinkle on a damp cloth and scrub as normal. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry. You can use this on fibreglass and all tiles. For extra cleaning power make a paste of bicarb soda, course salt and liquid soap (dish detergent is ok but castile soap is better). Let it sit on the surface and then scour off.

4. Clean glass shower doors: Bicarb soda is excellent for removing that soapy scum from the shower doors. Many products are not recommended for use on glass doors but bicarb soda is gentle enough to do no damage. Simply sprinkle some on a damp cloth and wipe down the glass. Rinse well and dry.

5. Remove lime from taps: When lime forms around your taps or drains mix some vinegar with a little bicarb soda to form a paste and coat all the area with lime on it. Let it sit for a few hours and then rinse off. It may take a few applications to get rid of heavy deposits.

6. Clear clogged drains: To clean out any clogs that have formed inside the drain from hair, soap or grime, pour in 120mls bicarb soda and follow it with 250mls vinegar. Let it sit for ten to twenty minutes and then flush the drain out with very hot water. But, DON’T try on a clogged drain after you have used a commercial cleaner as a reaction may occur that spews out caustic fumes and liquid. To avoid the clogs in the first place, pour ¼ cup bicarb soda down the drain weekly. Follow with lots of hot water.

7. Draw out stains: To draw out stains from stone, marble, limestone or unglazed ceramic surfaces coat the stain with a thick paste of bicarb soda and water. Let it stand for 24 to 48 hours and then rinse and dry thoroughly.

8. Clean grout: Make a runny paste with water and use an old toothbrush to clean stains in the grout between tiles.

9. Hand cleanser and softener: To remove ground-in dirt and neutralize odours on your hands scrub with a paste made with 3 parts bicarb soda and 1 part water or a gentle soap like Castille soap. Rinse away.

10. Clean brushes and combs: Remove natural oil build-up and hair product residue by soaking in a solution of 1 teaspoon bicarb soda in a basin of warm water. Rinse.

Home made cleaning products work really well and are a great money saver
Home made cleaning products work really well and are a great money saver


11. Grease stains: Pre-treat grease stains with a paste of bicarb soda and water.

To continue reading baking soda uses number 12 through to 35 click here 

Natural Remedies For Arthritis Relief

Many people live with the debility that is arthritis every day.  Not only do they lack mobility due to stiffness but they also must endure constant debilitating pain.  As arthritis progresses they can also experience joint weakness, instability and deformities.  These all make the tasks of everyday living such as walking, climbing stairs, or turning on taps even more difficult to perform.  While arthritis won’t actually kill you, it can leave you feeling like “death warmed up”.  But, it doesn’t have to be like this.  There are many natural remedies for arthritis relief.

natural remedies for arthritis relief


“I don’t deserve this award, but I have arthritis, and I don’t deserve that either.”     ~  Jack Benny

The term arthritis is an umbrella term for over a hundred conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system and include the two most common forms, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease. Some others are gout, ankylosing spondylitis, SLE (lupus), juvenile arthritis and scleroderma.

 Fibromyalgia is a disorder of the musculoskeletal system causing a rheumatic condition that is arthritis-related. It’s a problem of the central nervous system that displays many of the symptoms of arthritis. It often responds well to many of the same natural treatments that also help arthritis.

Joint and muscular pain and the associated inflammation are your body’s call for help.

Whilst pharmaceutical medications can provide symptom relief and make life easier the drugs come with accompanying side effects.

As well as seeking out symptom relief it’s also vital to focus on reducing the inflammation that triggers the symptoms. The imbalance leading  to joint inflammation can come from a number of sources. These include poor detoxification by the liver, disturbed blood sugars, allergies, free radicals and a lack of essential fats in the diet.


Diet For Arthritis Relief


Certain foods have consistently been shown to aggravate arthritis symptoms when they’re included in the diet.

Most commonly these are members of the Nightshade Family which includes potato, tomato, capsicum (peppers), eggplant, and chilli. It’s interesting that tobacco also falls into this family. The Mayo Clinic states smoking causes stress on connective tissues, which leads to increased arthritis pain.

Milk (and milk foods like cream and ice-cream) and citrus fruits are also known to impact arthritis and should be reduced, if not eliminated.

Processed foods containing preservatives, artificial colours and flavours , coffee and alcohol all place unnecessary strain in the immune system.

Red meat is a highly  acidic food that can aggravate arthritis.

At the same time as removing problematic foods from your plate it helps to increase beneficial foods such as green leafy vegetables, cherries and pineapple in your diet.

Ginger is one food known to contain enzymes that relieve inflammation. You can add fresh ginger to your cooking or take it as tea for a medicinal dose.


Natural Remedies For Arthritis And Fibromyalgia


There are countless numbers taking medications for the pain of arthritis, in spite of questions raised about the safety of long-term use of many of these. Fortunately there are a number of natural remedies and treatments that offer enormous benefit to arthritis sufferers, relieving their pain and increasing their mobility.



Some studies have shown individually selected Homeopathic remedies reduced the severity and duration of arthritis pain, as well as reducing swelling and stiffness.

This study from 2003 found ‘improved clinical status in fibromyalgia patients treated with individualised homeopathic remedies versus placebo’.

And this German study found that Homeopathic medication works as well as COX2 inhibitors (NSAIDs) without the worrying side-effects.

This 2007 Brazilian study found Homeopathic medicine interfered with inflammatory processes. This suggests it may be useful for a number of different problems, including the different forms of arthritis.

There are a number of remedies that are commonly found to help sufferers such as Rhus-tox, Apis, Causticum or Bryonia.  However the greatest benefits have occurred when the remedy is individually selected.  A professional Homeopath matches the homeopathic remedy to the individual variations in the symptoms of each person, according to homeopathic prescribing guidelines.



Some people have found great relief of painful symptoms through Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  Acupunture seeks to rebalance the flow of Qi, or energy in the body through the insertion of very fine needles.  Treatment is individual, different for each person, and aimed at treating the specific symptoms of each.  Often Chinese herbs will also be used alongside acupuncture.


Many types of natural treatments, including Homeopathy and Acupuncture, don’t see arthritis as a single syndrome.  Rather it’s recognised as a collection of symptoms which vary slightly from one individual to the next. Therefore treatment is individualised to suit the particular symptoms that are present in each case.


photo: by Alex
photo: by Alex


Certain supplements can be very useful in relieveing arthritis and all the related syndromes.


Glucosamine  has long been used with success for joint pain.  This glucose/amino acid compound slows down the breakdown of cartilage as it boosts its repair.  A number of studies have shown it to be more effective than ibuprofen, as well as being better tolerated by the body.  It’s also been shown to be as good as NSAIDS for easing arthritic pain and inflammation without the side-effects.  Take 500mg of glucosamine three times a day, although it may take a month or two to get relief.

Glucosamine is often combined with chondroitin for improved benefit. This combination helps provide a cushioning effect in the joint, (reducing wear and tear)


S-adenosylmethionine (SAM or SAMe)

SAMe has a similar effect to glucosamine and chondroitin when they’re combined.  it contributes to cartilage formation and exerts a mild analgesic (painkilling) effect.



Methylsulfonylmethane or MSM as it’s commonly known, is a form of the essential mineral sulphur, which is commonly found in the tissue of all living beings.  Sulfur’s involved in many functions including pain control, detoxification and tissue building. It is an essential component of the connective tissue of the joints, tendons and ligaments.

Huge results have been reported by arthritis sufferers after using MSM in pain relief. It’s also effective for those with muscle and ligament problems such as bursitis or muscle pain.  MSM helps inhibit cartilage destruction in osteoarthritis.

Take 500mg three or four times a day with food, although you can take up to 3000mg a day. Some people get worse for about a week or two followed by improvement.


Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Studies suggest omega-3 from fish oil is effective to fight arthritis. Many people report positive results from EPA supplements including less pain and more mobility after six months use.

If you decide to take a fish-oil supplement carefully source a high quality one, because some contain heavy metals.  Many of the fish oil supplements on the market may have oxidised during processing and cause more harm than good.

Alternatively increase your essential fatty acid intake by including more omega-3 rich foods in your diet. Good sources are chia seeds, walnuts, green leafy vegetables, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and cold-water oily fish.

foods choices for arthritis relief
Increase your essential fatty acid intake by including more of these omega-3 rich foods in your diet



Vitamin A is a great antioxidant, which neutralises the free radicals that cause inflammation.

Vitamins C, B6 and E may be useful in enhancing the production of  collagen to slow osteoarthritis development and help repair connective tissue.





Perhaps the most effective herbs for arthritis is turmeric, or more precisely the active compound curcumin in turmeric.  Curcumin is a wonderful anti-inflammatory. It’s been shown to be as effective as cortisone without the side-effects.

Recently, a review in the Journal of Clinical Immunology said that curcumin at low doses enhances antibody responses and regulates the immune system.

It’s considered quite a safe herb. A normal dose would be 400 to 600mg three times a day.

Turmeric is best taken as a high potency supplememnt.  If you’re relying on turmeric in your food you need about 3 heaped teaspoons every day, and that’s in just your serve not the entire dish!


Perhaps the most effective herbal for improved symptoms of arthritis is turmeric
Perhaps the most effective herbal for improving the symptoms of arthritis is turmeric

Natural Arthritis Management


Managing arthritis without medications, whether they’re prescription or over-the-counter types, may require targeting from more than one direction in order to get faster, longer-lasting, deeper results. For example a combination of treatment, diet, and supplements may be better than just one.

Inactivity can make the problem worse, increasing pain and stiffness in the affected joints. Exercise increases circulation and reduces stiffness. So exercise programs tailored to meet the persons capabilities should always be included in the mix.  Swimming is a great exercise for arthritis sufferers and walking is another good option.

it’s essential to remember not every remedy suits every person.  We are all individuals and respond differently to different ways of treating illnesses in a natural way.  Dietary changes alone may work wonderfully for one person but not the next.  They may respond better to turmeric supplements or the addition of homeopathy or accupuncture.

How you manage arthritis is often far more effective when done under the care of a Health Practitioner with a good knowledge of combining natural alternatives that can complement, or reduce the need for, medications.

Please tell us in the comments below what natural remedies you have found most useful to relieve your arthritis. 
The key to not simply managing arthritis but to getting deeper, long-lasting results, in a more natural way is to combine a number of diffent methods - exercise, diet changes, supplements and effective alternative treatments.
The key to getting deeper, long-lasting results rather than simply managing arthritis, in a more natural way is to combine a number of diffent methods – exercise, diet changes, supplements and effective alternative treatments.



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to help you Stay Healthy and Feel Young?
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All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation with your health care provider. Do not use this article to diagnose a health condition. Speak to your doctor if you think your condition may be serious or before discontinuing any prescribed medication. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.


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Junk it!

Katrina Stairs Red Cross Pantry

Junk food! Everyone knows the term, almost everyone has their favourite, and everyone when asked to name a few would be able to name many more than a few with no hesitation at all. There are certain foods that are immediately recognized as junk foods – many ‘take-away foods’, as well lots of others, packaged and sold in supermarkets or convenience stores – potato chips, biscuits, lollies, soft drinks – are all obvious inclusions. But, what about other junk foods that are masquerading as ‘healthier’ options?

Processed foods are those that have had the ingredients altered so they are no longer in their natural state. Humans have processed their food for millennia. Any food that’s prepared by drying, grinding, chopping or cooking is processed. Traditionally this was done to make the food more digestible or to preserve it for later, when food may not be available. Grain foods were processed, and cheese, sausage and wine are just a few others.

Modern processed foods may on the surface seem far less insidious than the widely accepted ‘junk foods’. But often they are just as bad for you. No longer are processed foods the artisan foods of the past. Now foods are industrially processed in factories. In fact most of the foods in the Aussie diet are processed.

Processing may be as simple as freezing or it may be putting together a complete meal ready to heat and eat. During the process many of the nutrients that are in the original food are destroyed leaving the finished product a far cry from the original, and certainly not in line with the traditional purpose of processing. Grains are treated with very high temperatures and pressure which destroys the nutrients, denatures the fatty acids, and the process even destroys the synthetic vitamins that are added.  But not only does the extrusion process used for grains destroy the nutrients, in particular the amino acid lysine, it turns the grains into neurotoxins according to biochemist Paul Stitt in his book Fighting the Food Giants.

Processed foods often appear to be healthy. These days they may feature low-fat, low-carb, fortified with vitamins, fibre, iron, or minerals, no trans-fats, containing omega-3, high-calcium, plus many more. They may make claims to promote health such as ‘may reduce the risk of heart disease’. But they all have the flavour enhanced with excess salt, sugar or oil. Many processed foods like white bread, are essentially empty calories offering very little nutritional value, certainly far less than the wholefood alternative.

During processing part of the plant is often removed or purposefully changed. One example where you can see this is with wheat grains used for bread. The wholewheat grain forms with three layers, the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. (diagram) The bran is the layer where the fibre exists. Most nutrients and fatty acids are found in the germ. The endosperm is the starchy layer. The high nutrient density of grains only exists (and provides us with nutrients) when these layers are intact. During processing of the wholewheat grain into a loaf of white bread, most of the germ and bran is stripped away leaving just the starchy endosperm.

Take a look at the package or label on your white bread and notice all the ingredients that are listed. In the past bread was made by mixing whole milled wheat, often other grains or seeds, water, salt and a fermented dough starter, to create an easily digested, fermented bread, or sourdough loaf. Later yeast was used instead of the fermented starter. Traditonally, the bread mixture was kneaded and left to prove twice, unlike commercial breads which are only left to prove once. The extra steps in the process allowed the components of the grain, such as the phytic acid, to break down properly so they can be properly absorbed, or, as is the case with phytic acid which inhibits absorption of other minerals if it is not broken down, to prevent them interfering with efficient metabolism.

White bread packaging showing a list of ingredients which is far removed from those few ingredients found in traditional breads
White bread packaging showing an enormously long list of ingredients, far removed from those few ingredients required to make traditional breads

In commercial processed breads, the process is rushed through, with steps eliminated, and lots of other ingredients beside the basic ingredients that are needed to make home-made bread added. Preservatives, sweeteners, gluten, salt, soy flour plus many chemicals are all added to the mix.

Bread is a perfect example of the big problem with processed foods and also the pointer as to how to get around the problem. Traditional methods of food preparation allowed for the use of pure, wholefood ingredients. Home made foods did not need to have lots of chemicals straight out of the laboratory, many of which come with health cautions, added to stabilize the product and make it more appealing.

Home made food may include less than desirable ingredients, such as sugar, but at least the sugar is real sugar, and not a chemical version, and the butter is butter and not a questionable vegetable oil, or you can make the choice to replace the butter with a healthier fat option such as coconut oil. With processed foods there is no choice. You cannot opt to avoid trans fats or white sugar.

Many of the chemicals, including vitamins and minerals, that occur in a plant work together to help the plant grow and survive more efficiently, and they also work together in a synergistic balance once they enter your body and are metabolized.  But when foods are processed the natural balance between the different chemicals in the original food is upset so their effect on your body and the way in which they work, is altered. Many extra chemicals also need to be added to processed food to stabilize the product, or to make it look, taste, or feel more appealing, and these are rarely good for you


Sometimes it is difficult to know whether or not a food is processed, and the first step is to get a few guidelines to help you recognize them when they are traveling incognito. It all comes down to reading the ingredient list, because even a glance at the list will often set the alarm bells ringing. If the product has a long list of ingredients then you can be pretty sure it is processed. The case with the bread is a good example, where the food should have only a few ingredients when made according to traditional methods, often there may be eight, ten or even fifteen on the label.

If the food has a long list of ingredients where there should only be a few it is likely processed.

If you don’t recognize many of the ingredients, or can’t pronounce them, then it is probably highly processed.

If it has a very long shelf life – the ‘use by’ date is way off in the future it is processed.

If it contains trans fats, MSG, or lots of numbers it is definitely processed. In fact about ninety-five percent of processed foods contain MSG.

Take-away foods are a real trap. Aside form the obvious problem with deep frying foods like fish and chips, even foods that seem ok are loaded with highly processed ingredients. Pizza for instance, is covered in oils, processed meats and cheese. The kids menu is particularly bad, generally comprising only highly processed foods such as nuggets, chips and pasta (which is white and therefore highly processed). Salad, vegetables or a baked potato are all less processed options. Beware though of some of the ‘take-away salad chains’ as many of their salads are loaded with processed ingredients in the dressings, again take a quick look at the ingredient list.

processed foods NH

If you set out to eat more fruit and vegetables then you will find you have naturally replaced many processed foods with more natural ones without even being aware of it. Get to know when they are in season and try to eat seasonally, as that is the way you will get the best level of nutrients available.

Look for suitable alternatives – porridge made from wholegrain oats (not quick oats) or quinoa makes a great alternative to boxed cereals. Other breakfast options might be eggs with spinach, asparagus or avocado, quinoa with fruit and nuts, fruit salad and yoghurt, high-fibre-superfood fruit smoothies, omelettes with different vegetables, homemade baked beans, bircher muesli with fruit, green juice. When I have some time I enjoy stir-fried vegetables.

We are all time stressed these days, but the very best way to avoid processed foods is to make foods yourself. Instead of just watching Masterchef, get out in the kitchen yourself and cook up your own junk foods. When you make cakes, muffins or biscuits yourself you can use real eggs, butter or good oils and avoid artificial colours, preservatives and trans fats. Make your own oven-baked potato wedges and avoid the additives. You can flavour them with spices like sumac for an extra kick. Invest in a bread maker, making bread at home is so easy these days, you can even start your own sourdough bread starter.

This is the way to start back to good health through our eating, by reclaiming a few of the best practices of the past, by becoming aware enough to check out what we are consuming before wolfing it down, and by selecting foods that look like they may have come from the garden.

Simple really!

What are your favourite ‘junk food’ alternatives?

photo:  John Burke
photo: John Burke


All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue. 

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