Category: daily life

food grade DE

Guest Post: How To Use Diatomaceous Earth In Your Home and Garden

 

Gary from https://plantcaretoday.com/ contacted me a while ago to ask if I’d be open to publishing this article on AsWellAsICanBe. After looking at his website and the great information contained there, I was happy to do so.

I should add that I am aware of and use food-grade DE that I purchased and use years before Gary got in touch with me. I sprinkle it in my garden and occasionally mix some in my pets’ kibble. Since I no longer live in the South, the many issues with Palmetto bugs (aka flying cockroaches) and other endemic pests are not an ever-present problem in the frozen tundra of northwestern WI. Therefore, I don’t use as much DE as I would if still lived in Charleston, SC. (Although hubby and I plan to become snowbirds this winter. Anyone reading this south of the Mason-Dixon Line or bordering on Mexico who wants to trade houses to experience winter is free to contact me.)  😉

Here’s Gary’s guest post on DE

Diatomaceous earth(DE) is a very common product with a wide variety of uses in industry, around the house and yard. Even though you may never have heard of Diatomaceous earth, you probably have used DE and consumed it a standard ingredient in quite a few personal care products and food items. DE has value as a supplement, a drying agent, a soil additive and an effective home and garden pest control agent. In this article, we will focus on using DE to control insect pests around your house and garden. We will also provide important information on the dangers of chemical pesticide use. Read on to learn more.

Why Not Use Chemical Pesticides?

Chemical pesticides (poisons) are the only substances purposely released into the atmosphere for the purpose of killing things. The suffix, “cide” is Latin for “kill“, and pesticides are used to kill rodents, fungus, insects, and weeds in a wide variety of settings. For this reason, they can be found almost everywhere. climate changeAccording to the website, toxicactions.org, over 5 billion pounds of pesticides are used in the United States annually. They can be found in every aspect of life including our food, water, air, and soil. This is very bad news as pesticides have been found to cause problems such as:
* Reproductive Difficulties
* Endocrine Disruption
* Developmental Delay
* Kidney Problems
* Liver Damage
* Cancer

Children Are Especially At Risk

Pesticide contamination is problematic for adults and especially problematic for children. Children are exposed to pesticides from the moment of conception and continue to be exposed at home, at school, and at play. The chemicals found in pesticides cause developmental delay and can cause problems as serious as brain damage.

Although some proponents of chemical pesticides say that when used properly and in the right amounts these substances present little or no threat, the fact is they build up. They are everywhere, and they are unavoidable. We are exposed to them every day through inhalation; in the food we eat; in the water we drink; through skin contact and even through our eyes. People who work in farm settings and those who live near industrial farms are at tremendous risk for illnesses and other problems caused by contact with chemical pesticides.

Wildlife and the environment, in general, are under great threat due to contamination caused by chemical pesticides. Neonicotinoids are especially harmful to important pollinators such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths and other insects. This category of pesticide is also extremely dangerous to small mammals such as bats and also to reptiles such as lizards.

Why Keep Using Chemicals?

There’s lots of money in pesticides. As the companies making these poisons continue to put more lobbying pressure on the government to reduce regulations and increase the use of pesticides, we can expect the problems they cause to increase exponentially if we continue to buy them and use them. Luckily, we can vote with our pocketbooks and simply choose to learn about and use natural alternatives to benefit our own health and the health of our planet.

It’s easy to see that using pesticides has an extremely negative effect on people, wildlife, and the environment, but are pesticides necessary? playground w/pesticide signThe simple and accurate answer to that question is “No!” The fact is, it is not possible, necessary or even desirable to kill off all pests. All things in nature have some use and reason for being. It is entirely possible to control pests using natural means and a mindset that is aimed at coexistence–with rather than extermination–of the animals we term pests.

There are a number of ways to replace common household pesticides with all-natural alternatives that work just as well or better. When you adopt this way of thinking and choose to stop using pesticides in your own home, yard, and garden you can become part of the solution rather than remaining part of the problem. When you make this positive, proactive choice you will also save money while protecting the health and well-being of the environment, your loved ones and yourself.

Why Is Organic Pest Control Better?

When you choose organic pest control methods you are making use of time-honored, natural ingredients that strive to integrate cultural wisdom, available natural resources, biological and mechanical solutions to address problems with pests. These methods safeguard your health while helping to conserve biodiversity and support ecological balance.

There are lots of different ways to control pests in the home, yard, and garden with a combination of products such as essential oils, boric acid, vinegar, insecticidal soap and more. These ingredients are far safer and far more affordable than any commercially prepared chemical pest control. When dealing with insect pests outdoors, predatory insects are often engaged as a natural means of control. Indoors, essential oils such as rosemary, sweet basil, eucalyptus, catnip, and cedar are often added to carriers such as water, vinegar and/or oils to create sprays and other natural insect killing or repelling products.

The focus of this article is diatomaceous earth, an affordable, versatile, natural pest control product that is very popular, useful and extremely safe to use. Diatomaceous earth can be applied lightly indoors or outdoors on an as-needed basis and will continue to work as long as the weather stays dry. One popular type of DE that is specifically made for the purpose of combating insects both indoors and out is Perma-Guard Diatomaceous Earth. While this product does provide some excellent information on its packaging, it should be noted that its price per pound of product is a bit higher than other offerings of 100% DE.

Why Food Grade DE Pest Control

Food Grade DE is an all-natural product classified under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act as being safe for use in the home.

This all-natural, dry powder is made of diatoms. These are the fossilized remains of single-celled algae. This very fine, white or light tan silica powder presents insects such as:
* Cockroaches
* Ants
* Bedbugs
* Dust Mites
* Fleas
* Clothes Moths
* … and more

… with razor sharp edges that cause damage to their exoskeletons. The substance also absorbs the protective oil from the surface of the exoskeleton.

How Does DE Work?

The cell walls of diatomaceous earth are made of silica (the main component of glass). This makes the individual particles sharp, abrasive and damaging to insect bodies. It is also effective against soft-bodied gastropods, such as slugs and snails if distributed in a thick line that forms a physical barrier. DE will not kill these creatures, but it will prevent them from entering “off-limits” areas.

For insects, the combination of exoskeleton damage and the drying effect causes the pests to dehydrate and die. This is not a speedy process, but if you keep DE distributed consistently in areas where pests are a problem you will see a steady decline in your pest population. Because DE’s deadly powers are physical rather than chemical, insects cannot build up immunity or resistance to it. No matter how long you use diatomaceous earth, it will continue to be effective against insect pests of all kinds. This is a definite benefit when compared with chemical pesticides.

Uses For Diatomaceous Earth

It primarily works like a pest control powder which “eats through” the exoskeleton of insects and dries them out. Moreover, since the DE works on a mechanical level more than a chemical one, the insects do not develop any resistance to diatomaceous earth. This becomes an eco-friendly alternative for killing insects as you can avoid using toxic sprays and insecticides. In general, DE can be used for many purposes, but for a garden, it is primarily used as a pesticide or insecticide. They also denote it as natural bug control. Insects like:
* Ants
* Earwigs
* Mites
* Aphids
* Thrips
* Snails & Slugs
* Fleas
* Beetles
* Cockroaches… and others can be treated with food grade DE in our gardens.

ONLY USE Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth as a pesticide for vegetable production. This method is very popular among folks who are a fan of natural remedies. When we talk about the environment, the basic component is silicon which makes up most of the rocks, sand, and land of our Earth. It is also a component of fish bodies or marine animals naturally.

Moreover, since DE does not work on a chemical level, there is no question of it degrading or dissolving in water or vaporize to pollute the air, causing damage to the environment. It’s environmentally friendly.

How To Apply DE In The Garden

1. Dry Method

Fill a container (like a parmesan cheese container) to use as a shaker for the powder. Garden duster applicators are available as well. Avoid creating dust, it can harm your respiratory system. Wearing gloves and masks is a must, especially if you have allergies and breathing issues.

Dust the dry powder on the plants. Experts suggest the best time is morning and evening when the plants have a little dew on them. The moisture helps retain the powdered DE. The powder is not effective when wet but when it dries up, insects begin to “experience” its effect. Applying a thick layer of DE at the base of plants helps keep slugs, snails or squash bugs away. Be sure to apply DE on the upper, as well as the underside, of all plants for best effects. Reapply powder after it rains because it will get washed away.

2. Wet Method

Dissolve 4 tablespoons of Diatomaceous Earth powder into 1- gallon water jug. Seal the jug tightly and shake until the powder is dissolved. Fill a spray bottle or garden sprayer with the DE mixture.

Spray plants with the solution but NOT until they are dripping wet. Be sure to cover the undersides of leaves for maximum benefits. Once the plants dry the residue left behind looks like a thick layer of powder coating the leaves. The “wet” method is best suited where windy conditions are present.

Masks and gloves are essential here too. Some people also prefer wearing goggles while spraying the powder.

How To Use DE Around The House

Using DE is simplicity itself. Apply a light dusting. Look for areas that are frequented by insect pests and simply sprinkle DE lightly in these areas.

Indoors, apply it to the back of cabinets, and your baseboards, behind wall sockets and other nooks, crannies, cracks, and crevices where insects hide.

Outdoors, sprinkle it around sensitive plants or dust plant leaves lightly to impact all manner of insect pests. When insects come in contact with the substance, it sticks to them and effectively kills them.

DE will not attract insects, so in some instances, you may want to combine it with a substance that will attract pests to it. If you are trying to draw insects, you can mix it with dry bait, such as sugar. This can be an effective treatment on ant hills. Apply a thick line when dealing with slugs and snails.

Keep your powder dry!

It’s important to remember that DE is not effective unless it is dry. If you sprinkle it outdoors, you must remember to replenish it after rainfall. And do not use in damp areas.

Before reapplying DE indoors, you should clean up your previous application. Depending on where you have applied the substance and how much is present, you can sweep it up with a whisk broom and dustpan, use a damp towel to wipe it up, or use a shop vac to vacuum it up. Do not use your regular household vacuum cleaner as the coarse substance can be very damaging to the motor.

Even though DE is non-toxic, you may want to wear a dust mask, eye protection, and gloves when applying it or cleaning it up. Remember that it is a dusty and very drying substance, so it could cause some itching and discomfort if you are in contact with it for an extended period of time.

Make DE & EO Insect Repellents

There is one instance in which you would use DE damp. You can use it as a base to make essential oil insect repellent stations. When you do this, you are not using the DE to kill insects. You are just using it as a medium or carrier to deliver the scent of the oil. Some people use cotton balls for this purpose, but DE holds the essential oil scent longer and can be reused indefinitely, so it is a better choice.

Begin by making a paste of DE and water. Add a strong smelling essential oil such as lemon or cedar oil or oil of lavender. Mix the essential oil in at a rate of about a dozen drops per ounce of DE and water paste. Put this mixture into small jar lids. Place these in out-of-the-way corners and under furniture where insects might hide. Replenish your stations monthly with a few drops of water and essential oil.

Is DE Safe To Leave Out All the Time?

For mammals, food grade diatomaceous earth is not only safe it is also desirable. It is commonly added to grains, pet food, and other dry food products as an anti-caking agent and to help prevent insect infestation. Food grade diatomaceous earth imparts a number of health benefits, and it is often added to natural personal care products such as toothpaste. Many people use it as a dietary supplement, and the silicon it contains is said to be helpful for strengthening bones and improving the quality of skin, hair, and nails.

dog sitting
Your furry family members will have fewer parasites with food grade DE in their kibble.

When used as a supplement for poultry, DE helps control intestinal parasites and results in hens laying larger and more nourishing eggs with stronger shells. Additionally, when used as a dust bath for poultry DE helps control and even eliminate bird mite infestation. It also makes a nice dust bath for pet birds and chinchillas.

Food grade DE is safe to eat and can even be used as a deworming product for your pets. Talk with your veterinarian about the amount to use. Generally speaking, DE is safe when used as a flea powder on cats and dogs. Some farmers hang burlap bags of it from barn rafters so that livestock can bump against them to dust themselves as protection against flies. As long as you are sure to get food grade diatomaceous earth, it will pose no threat to you, your pets or non-insect life.

Be aware that food grade DE does not discriminate between beneficial insects and non-beneficial insects. Be careful where you put the product. Avoid areas frequented by beneficial insects. You don’t want to damage your populations of bees, ladybugs, butterflies and other desirable insects.

Use Only Food Grade DE

Remember to only use food grade DE. There is pool grade diatomaceous earth available, but this is not the same thing.

food grade DE
This is my own stock of food grade diatomaceous earth.

This substance is intended only for swimming pool filtration. It contains a lot of crystalline silica and is not safe to come in contact with or to consume. The difference lies in the production methods used to create the two types of DE. Pool grade DE is prepared using a process known as calcination that incorporates very high heat levels. This process transforms the silicon dioxide content into crystalline silica, which is extremely dangerous to the health of both animals and humans. For this reason, this type of DE must only be used for swimming pool filtration. It has no other purpose.

Food grade diatomaceous earth is also known as Food Chemical Codex Grade DE.  In order to be considered safe for consumption, DE must comply with specifications regarding its heavy metal (e.g. lead and arsenic) content. Food grade DE is not calcined and is made up mostly of amorphous silica. It should contain no more than 1% crystalline silica. The mineral content of the product affects its coloring. Most DE is very pure white, but the presence of naturally occurring minerals can cause the product to vary in shade from light brownish-gray to white.

Do Natural Pest Control Methods Really Work?

Yes, non-toxic pest control does work; however, it doesn’t work in the same way as chemical pesticides. It’s important to understand that when you use natural pest repelling and controlling ingredients you must take a holistic approach. This means combining natural methods and being very consistent and persistent. Unlike chemical pesticides, natural products don’t kill off vast swathes of insects and other pests all at once. Furthermore, organic products don’t usually have a residual effect. For this reason, most organic pest control products need to be applied frequently for best results. It is also smart to use them in a rotation and/or in combination with each other to prevent having your pests build up a resistance to them.

When you spray an insect with a chemical pesticide, it dies on the spot. Conversely, you may observe insect pests walking right through DE seemingly unfazed. Don’t despair! It takes a while for the DE to damage the insect exoskeleton and decimate the critter!

As a matter of fact, a number of factors affect the speed with which DE works to kill off insects. The size and type of insect is one very important factor.

Palmetto Bug
This cockroach is also known as a Palmetto Bug in South Carolina. They are everywhere and they fly.

Additionally, the ambient humidity levels and the particle size of the DE may affect the speed with which it works. Temperature also plays a role, as does the level of infestation. It naturally takes quite a bit longer to deal with more insects. Generally speaking, you may see significant results within 24 hours of proper application of DE. This is especially true with very small fairly soft-bodied insects such as bedbugs, dust mites, bird mites, termites, black ants, and red ants. Leaving the DE in place and replenishing it as-needed will reap greater results within a week’s time.

Large, tough insects, such as merchant grain beetles can take as long as three weeks to deal with. Likewise, it can take a couple of weeks to deal with heavy silverfish infestation. I found that it also takes several weeks to eradicate a palmetto bug infestation, too. 

It is important to remove any clutter, manure, leaves or other items that may be sheltering insects such as silverfish and beetles. This will help ensure that the insects make good contact with the DE. When dealing with especially pervasive pests, such as bedbugs, you must clean thoroughly and use a combination of methods of natural pest control, such as DE, essential oil sprays, heat and sheer diligence to ensure you have eliminated all eggs, larvae, and adults.

No matter what kind of pest you are dealing with, keep a close eye on the infestation. If you feel that the insects have been completely eradicated, you may wish to clean up the DE completely and not reapply it. However, keeping a light application out at all times will not hurt anything and can certainly help prevent a re-infestation. This is especially true of very persistent insects such as bedbugs, fleas, and ants.

DE Is In Many Household and Personal Products

Diatomaceous earth is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). For this reason, it is included in hundreds (if not thousands) of products for household and personal use. Among these are more than one-hundred and fifty products intended for pest control. In addition to its pest control value, food grade DE is also useful as a dietary supplement to help:

  • Deal with parasite infestation in humans and pets
  • Improve bone, joint and ligament health
  • Detoxify and remove heavy metals
  • Enhance colon and liver function
  • Benefit skin, hair and nail health
  • Improve immune function
  • Increase energy levels

Food grade DE is easy to find at your local animal feed store or online, and it is amazingly affordable. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay a couple of dollars a pound. This amount will last you ages, even if you use it to dust your house and yard and supplement your pet’s food and your morning smoothie. A little bit of this safe, all-natural product goes a long way and can do you, your family and your household a world of good.

 

waterfall

Serenity For Spoonies #8

This is the eighth in a series of posts inspired by photos that make me and hopefully you, more relaxed by looking at them, imagining myself in them and feeling the environment of the shot. If you don’t know what a spoonie is, here’s a short article that explains it.

waterfall
Doesn’t this look like something from The Hobbit? Waterfall by Robert Lukeman.

 

seascape
Seascape by Ron Whitaker

 

tree and lake
A moody photo of a tree and a lake by Peter Oslanec
sunset

Serenity for Spoonies #5

Our fifth installment of photos that make me relax just by looking at them. I’m posting in the hope that they will also be relaxing to other spoonies. If you don’t know what a spoonie is, here’s a short article that explains it.

sunset
I just love good sunset photos, don’t you? Zoltan Kovacs took this one.
dog
There’s something in dog’s eyes when they are on a mission. Yuki was photographed by Patrick Hendry
mountain sunset
Mountains and sunsets. How much more peaceful can one get? Photo credit to Thomas Ciszewski.

Want to see something in particular? Let me know below.

[contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /][contact-field label=”Message” type=”textarea” /][/contact-form]

Farmers market

How Eating Locally & Seasonally Helps My Chronic Illness

Equations were never my strength. Even before ME/CFS I couldn’t remember the common ones, like how to find an area of something. If someone looked at me funny because of it, I reminded them that Albert Einstein never memorized his phone number. He didn’t want to crowd his brain with information that could easily be found. That usually shut them up. 😉

Anyhow, here’s an equation that even I can remember.

Saving Money=Sustainable Nutrition=Healthier Body

It’s not news that we are living in a nation of quick and easy meals from a box, freezer or the bag handed through a drive-up. fast-food-pickup

It isn’t easy to eat healthily and sustainably, especially on a budget. Here’s how I manage it.

Starting with produce, I check organic prices and if there is a good conventional produce sale. Most of the time the loss-leaders are on the Dirty Dozen list, so I don’t buy them. Once in while I can snap up a great bargain–like a couple of months ago when organic avocados were selling 2/$1 because they were all ripening too fast.

You don’t know about the Dirty Dozen list (not the Steve McQueen movie)? Each year the Environmental Working Group looks at all the pesticides applied to all the crops grown for sale in the US and assigns each fruit or vegetable a rank in comparison to each other. The top 12 “winners” are called the Dirty Dozen.

Farmers market
Local Farmers Markets are the best for purchasing local produce.

Summer fruit and veggies I don’t grow myself are bought at one or more of the local Farmers Markets. Here I can talk directly with the grower and be certain no pesticides were used–especially glyphosate (RoundUp®).

While I’m at the Market, I also buy pastured pork products from a family farm where the pigs roam about and don’t receive antibiotics to grow faster. My beef is grass-fed and raised on a friend’s farm where the cattle receive excellent care.

I used to do public relations for the top crop seed breeder in the US. As part of this, we spent time in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska where a whole lot of feedlots hold a whole lot of cattle. These steers spend the final months of their lives, sometimes up to their knees in manure, in a crowded feedlot with cattle they never met before. No wonder grass-fed tastes better. Just think of the stress those feedlot animals are under!

If you want to eat better for less, these are good ways to cut your food budget:

EAT LESS MEAT

Even when bought in bulk, meat from animals that have the freedom to wander pastures is expensive. Organic is not as necessary to purchase as beef that is 100% grass fed. Why is this important? First, grass-fed cattle are on pastures all spring, summer, and fall here in Wisconsin. They can remain outdoors even during winter in many other areas of the country so you know they are as close to having a good life as it’s possible for cattle to have.

cows on meadow
Grass-fed beef is superior to conventionally raised.

Second, grass-fed beef has a very good nutritional profile compared to conventionally raised steers. This meat has less total fat, more omega-3 fatty acids, more conjugated linoleic acid and more antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E (Source).

Although my freezer is still full of freezer paper wrapped roasts, steaks, hamburger, we don’t have meat at every meal. You could try observing a Meatless Monday for a few weeks. Then look at the difference in your grocery budget. There are lots of vegetarian main dishes you can find online

If you are interested in some of my recipes, let me know in the comments. I was a good cook when I was working. However, I didn’t really have time for something that couldn’t go in the crockpot or on the table in less than an hour.

When I started getting better I began to change my eating habits. This inevitably leads to learning how to cook all over again. I love that I now know the most nutritious ways to prepare meals and snacks, but I know I would find it more difficult if I were still working. Soaking beans and grains, making sourdough bread, and accounting for the time my Instant Pot needs to naturally release before opening all take more planning than I was up to when working.

The obvious solution is a multi-generational home. Grandparents would be the traditional cooks and childcare providers for their children’s families. Sadly, I don’t see that happening much around me or with me. Sometimes I dream about what it would be like living with my daughter and her family (husband, 2 girls, dog) and it’s all good. Until I remember they live in the Washington DC/Baltimore Metroplex. 

Now, where was I?

Ah, yes. Here it is.

BUY IN BULK

Grocery stores are offering more and more healthy choices. Frequently, they will have a bulk foods department that may or may not contain organics. Conventional granola, trail mix and sesame sticks bought in bulk are an environmentally responsible choice even if they aren’t all that healthy. If you want to be super PC, buy from the local health food cooperative, natural foods store or buyers club. pexels-photo-458796.jpeg

I buy in bulk whenever possible because of things like steel cut oats at half the price of the imported can. For example, splitting a quarter of a cow. I have a small chest freezer, but my friend who split the purchase with me got everything from her half of a quarter into her side-by-side freezer.

EAT SEASONALLY

Out-of-season fruits and vegetables are more expensive, not to mention less sustainable, because of the fuel and other resources used in transport from other areas with different growing seasons. Buying local is, by definition, buying seasonally. It’s good for you in several areas. Traditional medicine, like Ayurveda from India and Chinese Medicine, stresses eating seasonally because of the way our bodies have evolved. When we are in tune with the environment, we can heal and then maintain our wellbeing. Most importantly, eating locally grown food in season is much less expensive at both ends of the marketplace transaction.

For example, my friend, Mary, who milks cows and raises grass-fed beef and pork, has few to no marketing expenses.  I see her at the Farmers Market where I and many others buy individual cuts and put in orders for bulk beef. Before selling directly to the consumer, Mary had to settle for what cattle futures were the day she shipped steers to the feedlot. Now she can sell at a price that keeps her profitable. Would you believe Mary sold bulk beef for the same per pound price this fall as in the autumn of 2015? (No special favors. The price was the same for everyone buying her beef.) What other food has remained the same price over the same period? pexels-photo-709817.jpeg

Fruits and vegetables reach their nutritional peak at the same time they are harvested. This, conveniently, is also when they taste best. According to the University of California-Davis, as a bell pepper progresses from green to red it gains 11 times more beta-carotene and one and a half times more vitamin C.

Once a fruit or vegetable is harvested it begins to lose nutrients and taste within the first hour. The USDA’s Table of Nutrient Retention Factors shows frozen fruit, in most cases, is more nutritious than fresh fruit that was picked before ripening and transported from who knows how far away.

If you’re not familiar with Farmers Markets, call the local reference librarian and ask. If your community has 211 phone service you can use them, too. Most often, you’ll find something if you ask around. Local Harvest is a clearinghouse for small farms raising healthy plants and animals. You pop in your zip code and nearby farmers who register with them pop back at you.

With all the new things in the produce department these days it can be hard to tell if a certain fruit or vegetable is in season. You can find a produce person at the store and ask them. And don’t forget to make room in your budget to purchase organic produce on the Dirty Dozen list. I’ve read you can break down some pesticide residue with a brief (10 min) soaking in a sink full of cold water and about a quarter cup of white vinegar.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Recipe requests? Let me know below.

Here are similar posts you may like.

http://aswellasicanbe.com/chronic-illness/maximize-nutrition/

http://aswellasicanbe.com/chronic-illness/diet-therapy/

[contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”1″ /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”1″ /][contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /][contact-field label=”Comment” type=”textarea” required=”1″ /][/contact-form]

The 5 Absolutly Best Pillows For Sleeping (In My Humble Opinion)

Doesn’t matter if you are a back sleeper, a side sleeper or a toss and turner, something from this pillow roundup will fit your needs.

#1 Shoulder Pad Pillow from Shujian

$$$$ Very Expensive ~~http://amzn.to/2mDtAgi

This carefully crafted pillow protectively fits cervical vertebra to resolve pressure and significantly eliminate head, neck, shoulder, and back pain. It is made with hydrophilic cotton, a new molecular structure combining the advantages of latex and memory cotton that disperses weight and automatically adjusts for the best support.

  • Remains a Constant Temperature
  • Breathable Heat Dissipation
  • Soft
  • Supportive
  • 11 x 11 x 3.9 inches

#2 Siberian Goose Down from Between The Sheets

$$$ Expensive ~~http://amzn.to/2DfL10H

Manufactured by the same Danish company producing down comforters in a 90% white Siberian goose down & 10% feather blend. A unique feature of these pillows and comforters is a no-mite protective fabric which keeps dust mites from penetrating the pillow. This provides a hypo-allergenic environment. Each pillow comes in a variety of sizes and fills to give gentle, medium, or firm support.

  • Standard Gentle 20″ x 26″ 16 oz
  • Standard Medium 20″ x 26″ 20.5 oz
  • Standard Full 20″ x 26″ 26 oz
  • Queen Gentle 20″ x 30″ 18.5 oz
  • Queen Medium 20″ x 30″ 23.6 oz
  • Queen Full 20″ x 30″ 30 oz
  • King Gentle 20″ x 36″ 21.5 oz
  • King Medium 20″ x 36″ 28.2 oz
  • King Full 20″ x 36″ 37 oz

#3 ZEEQ Smart Pillow from REM-Fit

$$ Expensive ~~ http://amzn.to/2B4lKRV

This tech-heavy memory foam pillow has an adjustable foam fill and a high-quality pillow cover made with moisture-wicking Tencel botanic fiber. It will gently vibrate to alert you to change position if it detects snoring. Multiple sensors send sleep data, such as movement and snoring, to the ZEEQ app so you can catalog sleep cycles and analyze sleeping habits. Built-in motors centralize a vibrating alarm to the user’s head and neck when the analysis determines it is the optimal time in your sleep cycle to awaken.

The onboard personal sound system, evenly dispersed between 8 internal speakers encased in the memory foam core, ensures that only the user can hear.  A music sleep timer automatically shuts the system off after a predetermined time. Naturally, there is a remote allowing you to power on, change volume and more if your phone is out of reach. And, finally, this smart pillow connects with Amazon Echo and has a two-week battery life.

What more could you possibly want in a pillow? 😉

#4 Pillow of Health from Pillow of Health

MizEllie’s Best Buy  ~~ http://amzn.to/2B45v7p

The PILLOW of HEALTH is easily customizable to adjust to your comfort level…even if it is different each night.  Medical-grade cluster fiber fill and foam do not to contain harmful chemicals and are approved by an independent laboratory.

Pillow Health pillow
The medical-grade filling is customized by easily adding or subtracting using the proprietary zipper opening and included extra filling.

The high-resilience foam is antimicrobial, hypoallergenic and free of harmful chemicals. Due to its high-density cell structure, it is naturally resistant to mildew, fungi, and dust mites. It can be washed and dried at high heat.

The outer layer is constructed from a moisture-wicking fabric that is 40X more breathable than other pillow fabrics. Users report they never have to wake up and flip the pillow over to get to the cool side.

#5 Bamboo Covered Memory Foam Pillow from Hotel Comfort

Affordable ~~ http://amzn.to/2D66ypk
This pillow is filled with 100% polyurethane shredded memory foam. The combination of this shredded memory foam and the bamboo cover allow the pillow to breathe and stay cool.  It conforms and adjusts perfectly to your head and neck and is great for back, stomach or side sleepers.
I own two of these pillows. They are quite full but compress easily. They also remain cool, but as yet I haven’t had them for a summer. It is a good buy, but if I were in the market again, I’d get #4. 
You may also want to take look at these.
Comments? Critiques?

[contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /][contact-field label=”Message” type=”textarea” /][/contact-form]

Why my Health Comes First This Christmas–by Vikki Patis

Vikki blogs on The Mighty, a wonderful site where people with chronic conditions can share their experiences. Here is her story about staying well in the holiday season.

 I love Christmas. I’m not religious at all and rather prefer the term “Yule” to Christmas, but I do love the festive season. I love the tradition of bringing the outside in; during autumn, we string up autumnal garlands and fairy lights and bring out little wooden animal ornaments. Our house transitions from summer to winter in stages, until we finally put up the tree. I love the food and the warmth, making plans and spending time with people. However, this time of year is also incredibly busy, which can be difficult when you live with a chronic illness.
Fibromyalgia is, in a nutshell, categorized by chronic pain and fatigue. It has been almost 18 months since I was diagnosed, and the treatment plan has been going well, but hectic periods like this remind me that I have to listen to my body, and make compromises.
From now until the new year, every weekend is booked up with something. Lunch with family, dinner with friends. Even getting my nails or lashes done requires consideration about my schedule, and what I feel I can cope with.
My birthday is a week before Christmas. I don’t usually do much for it since it’s hard to get people together during this period, but this year, some friends are coming up from Cornwall to spend the weekend with us.
I’m not saying I don’t enjoy all of these things, but it can be draining. When I’ve had a full week at work, I collapse on Friday evenings, usually in bed by 8 o’clock. Most weekdays I’m in bed by 9 or 10 at the latest, determined to get a full eight hours sleep, ready for the next day at work.Sleep Computer Key Showing Insomnia Or Sleeping Disorders Online
My medication makes me drowsy. In fact, it can exacerbate some symptoms of fibromyalgia, leaving me with no option but to go to bed. This is another thing I have to consider when planning events – can I take my medication at my usual time, or should I wait until later, to ensure I can still function during the event?
I think a lot of people who don’t live with a chronic illness can find all of this difficult to understand. Everyone gets tired, but chronic fatigue is a whole different story. Some people don’t always give me the benefit of the doubt, preferring to get annoyed and take it personally when I cancel plans. This can put a strain on relationships, and leave me even less inclined to expend my limited energy on spending time with them.
Living with a chronic illness can feel like a vicious circle, and although I can understand why people might get irritated when I cancel plans, what they have to understand is that it isn’t always my choice. My immunity is low, so I get ill easily, and this time of year is the perfect bug-catching season. And if I’m in too much pain or too tired from a full week, I cannot – and will not – force myself to make a lunch date to spare your feelings. My health will always come first.
For this reason, Christmas day is a quiet affair in our house. Nobody comes around, and we don’t go out. It’s just us and our cats, no pressure, just relaxation. We always make an effort to see other people during the festive season, but we spend Christmas day alone, recharging, enjoying our little family and our peaceful home. I learned a long time ago that I have to be firm when it comes to my health, whether that’s physical or mental, and sometimes you have to put yourself first.
For many, holidays like this are full of stress and drama. We force ourselves to be pleasant to family members we don’t like, we get ourselves into debt trying to buy everyone a present, and we try so hard to live up to the expectations of others. We forget about ourselves, what we need, and what makes us happy. I decided a few years ago that my favorite holiday would be spent the way I want to spend it. I love seeing distant friends, getting together around a table and catching up. I enjoy spending time with family, and going out for walks, enjoying the lights and decorations.
This year, we’ve decided that we don’t want presents. We’re saving to buy a house, so close friends and family are welcome to contribute to that, but we’d rather people saved their money and joined us for a drink or a meal, and spend time rather than money. It’s easy for me to buy a bunch of rubbish on Amazon, get them to gift wrap it and ship it straight to them. It takes money, but not effort, and I’m more interested in the latter. “It’s the thought that counts,” is our motto this year. So I think we should all take a moment, whether we live with a chronic illness or not, and appreciate the time people give us during this holiday season because sometimes, it can be the greatest gift they can give.