Feb 28th – Recap the month, applaud all the changes you made happen, and repeat one of your choice today.

Congratulations on contributing to the 56 new changes thus far!  Pat yourself on the back for any changes you made – even if for just that one day.  Below is the recap of the month.  Some of these deserve well more than just one day of a change, so pick your favorite and be sure to do it again today.

  • 1st – Practice Golden Rule
  • 2nd – Pick-up trash when you see it and dispose properly
  • 3rd – No plastic bottles, esp at your Superbowl party
  • 4th – Practice not judging others
  • 5th – Buy eco-friendly and healthy hand soap
  • 6th – Turn of all technology at meals
  • 7th – Hand write a note to someone special
  • 8th – Avoid certain foods in the garbage disposal
  • 9th – Install low-flow aerators in faucets
  • 10th – Have a Sunday family meal
  • 11th – Go paperless with all statements
  • 12th – Proper night’s sleep (usu 7-9 hours)
  • 13th – Leave shoes at the door
  • 14th – Share a Valentine’s Day wish with 5 people
  • 15th – Listen to your intuition and trust it
  • 16th – Use microwave to heat up small portions
  • 17th – Figure your monthly disposable spending to see where your dollars are going
  • 18th – Choose non-bleached/chlorine free products
  • 19th – Appreciate the weather
  • 20th – Sign-up on National organ-donor registry
  • 21st – Shut off car engine if idling for more than 10 seconds
  • 22nd – Consume proper amount of water (about 100 oz men, 74 oz women)
  • 23rd – Paint or draw a picture
  • 24th – Say “thank you”
  • 25th – “Dirty Dozen”
  • 26th – “Clean 15”
  • 27th – Make your own foam hand soap

Reviewing this list, it feels sizable, but at least with one per day they are smaller and manageable… hope you agree.  Love when you have shared your ‘changes’ for the day.

Peace hand soap rocks, and I love it even more in foam form!  Sometimes I slip up on the shoes by the door (…my husband REALLY wants me to stick with this change…).  Our monthly income needs some overhaul as to where the dollars are going.  Changing the faucet aerators was ridiculously easy to install… now to see the new water bill.  I have been regularly thinking of the Golden Rule, remembering not to judge others, and listening better to my intuition in many simple daily interactions, even in the smallest moments.  Trying to drink more water, and was pleasantly surprised to learn of the produce listed on the “Clean 15”. I can no longer walk away from a stray piece of trash on the street without picking it up and throwing it away – the guilt gets me every time.  LOVE the sleep clock calculator I mentioned on Feb 12th, in fact, I need to get to bed immediately.

Thanks again for being a part of the changes!


Feb 27th – Make your own foam hand soap and save the earth, money, soap and plastic!

I love this easy, money saving and eco-friendly idea.  Dilute your hand soap and turn it into your own foam hand soap.  Less soap down the drain, saves money, and saves on plastic since you will be buying fewer bottles of hand soap.

Take an empty foam soap container, fill it with with a mixture of your liquid hand soap (I am using my new found favorite, Peace Soap from Kiss My Face) and warm water.  I have read varying amounts from 1:1 soap to water, to 1:4 soap to water, and even as little as just one Tablespoon soaps with the rest water. I would say find something that works for you, but leave at least 1/3 of the foam bottle empty for it to mix.  Shake so it dissolves, and wash your hands!

Feb 26th – If you need to stretch our dollars from buying all organic produce, the “Clean 15” can be bought conventionally grown today.

As follow-up to yesterday’s 2012 “Dirty Dozen, the list below is EWG’s 2012 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce(TM) of the “Clean 15”.  The “Clean 15” are the fruits and vegetables of the 45 on the list that have the lowest recorded amount of pesticide.

  1. Onions (according to EWG, conventional onions are a clean crop.  Less than 1 percent of samples had any pesticides.)
  2. Sweet corn (thought if you are concerned with GMO, you may want to stick with organic since GMO sweet corn is not labels as such in US stores)
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Cabbage
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangos
  9. Eggplant
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cantaloupe – domestic
  12. Sweet Potatoes
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Watermelon
  15. Mushrooms

Feb 24th – Say ‘thank you’ in every kind gesture given to you today.

Those two words go A LONG way, and strangely, are often forgotten in today’s busy world.

Whether it is a hand wave signifying ‘Thank you’ after someone let you in on the highway, or the verbal words for a compliment given to you, an exchange such as these without a ‘thank you’ feels almost incomplete and unsatisfying on an emotional level.  While it is best to do a kind gesture without expecting anything in return, acknowledgement is important to maintain a certain level of human decency for the whole.  When it is said, there is a good feeling from both the person saying it and the receiver… and it is one of the easiest things we can do.

As well, there are people that enrich our lives, sometimes nearly every day, often they are our closest relationships.  They may impact us in a big or small way, but when it turns into an every day expectation, we may forget to say thank you to them for what they bring to our lives.  Say thank you to those people today.

An article in the Harvard Business Review by Peter Bregman put it well… “… saying “thank you” is mostly an emotional act. It connects one person to another. Saying “thank you” doesn’t just acknowledge someone’s effort, thoughtfulness, intent, or action. It acknowledges the person himself. …

…. Acknowledging each other is our basic responsibility as human beings living in community with other human beings.”

So, thank YOU, for reading this blog and sharing these changes with me!

Feb 25th – For any produce listed as one of the 2012 “Dirty Dozen”, eat only organic/no-pesticide.

The “Dirty Dozen” is part of the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce(TM) released by Environmental Working Group (EWG) every year that has information on pesticide loads on 45 different conventional fruits and vegetables.  The “Dirty Dozen” are the ones that are found to contain the highest amounts of pesticides, and are recommended to always purchase in their organic form.  Below is the list:

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Nectarines – imported
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Blueberries – domestic
  12. Potatoes

Plus – Green beans and Kale/Greens

Please note though, EWG comments that while best to reduce your exposure to pesticides, and organic is important, eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits or vegetables at all.

…and coming up soon… the “Clean 15″…

Feb 23rd – Paint or draw a picture and reconnect with your creative side.

Art can truly be therapeutic and the picture you make today only needs to be for yourself.  It doesn’t matter the subject, the medium or materials you use, a simple pen or pencil and paper will do, but take a moment to let loose and doodle up something that will make you smile.  It is not about the product, but rather the process, and using that part of your brain.  It may be hard to get started, and you may be critical of yourself and your skills, but let yourself move on and ignore any negative feelings.  No one needs to see your priceless piece and you can start by drawing a flower, or whatever comes to mind… let yourself be a kid.

I am very fortunate to teach painting classes, where those attending are coming more for a fun time rather than for a hard core art lesson.  It is such a joy to see what comes out in people who take the time to foster this creative side of themselves, whether they believe they have talent or not.

Using the arts as a creative outlet can have amazing benefits such as helping you to de-stress and clear your mind, deal with emotions, promote creative thinking and produce other similar qualities found in mediation.

Imagine if more people let loose and took out their emotions on a piece of paper or canvas rather than on others?  …the things we could draw at rush hour in the heat of traffic!

Feb 22nd – Consume enough water today…the amount varies, but about 100 oz for men and 74 oz for women daily.

To be able to give your best to others, it starts first with taking good care of yourself.  Water is essential, as 50 to 60% of the human body consists of it.

There is an old rule of thumb, drink eight 8 oz glasses of water a day which originated from the Institute of Medicine.  While this number is not detrimental, it may not necessarily be the most accurate.  There are several factors that can contribute to the ideal amount of water your body needs, but it seems the generally accepted optimal number is 3 liters a day for males (approx 101 oz) and 2.2 liters a day for females (approx 74 oz).  Keep in mind, it does not all have to be through drinking water, about 20% of the fluid we receive each day comes from water-heavy foods such as fruits and vegetables.

Your activity level, the environment (heat, humidity, altitude, etc), illness or health conditions, and pregnancy or breast-feeding, will certainly alter the healthy amount you need.

Also, it is a good idea to drink a glass of water or other low or calorie-free fluid with each meal and between each meal, as well, drink water before, during and after exercise.

In a future One Change Daily I will be talking about the best water filter source to use… stay tuned!

Feb 21st – Shut off your engine if it is idling for more than 10 seconds today.

The 10 seconds is the rule of thumb, according to the California Energy Commission, because 10 seconds of idling can use more fuel than restarting the engine, so after that point, you are wasting fuel.  For every two minutes a car is idling, it uses about the same amount of fuel it takes to go about one mile.

While it may not be as practical to turn off your engine at a stop light, unless you have severe heat or cold conditions that require you to leave the car running, why not turn it off.

The CA Energy Commission also point out three other myths associated with idling:

Myth #1: The engine should be warmed up before driving. Reality: Idling is not an effective way to warm up your vehicle, even in cold weather. The best way to do this is to drive the vehicle. With today’s modern engines, you need no more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days before driving away.

Myth #2: Idling is good for your engine. Reality: Excessive idling can actually damage your engine components, including cylinders, spark plugs, and exhaust systems. Fuel is only partially combusted when idling because an engine does not operate at its peak temperature. This leads to the build up of fuel residues on cylinder walls that can damage engine components and increase fuel consumption.

Myth #3: Shutting off and restarting your vehicle is hard on the engine and uses more gas than if you leave it running. Reality: Frequent restarting has little impact on engine components like the battery and the starter motor. Component wear caused by restarting the engine is estimated to add $10 per year to the cost of driving, money that will likely be recovered several times over in fuel savings from reduced idling. The bottom line is that more than ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine.

Feb 20th – Do something something extraordinary – sign up on the national organ-donor registry.

This is obviously a VERY personal choice, so please do not take this as pressure from this blog to do this, it us perfectly understandable if it is not for you.  However, if it is something that may be of interest to you, it takes only a minute to do, and could help significantly impact another person’s life.

If you would like to sign up, here is the link:  http://donatelife.net/

Feb 19th – Appreciate the weather today for at least 5 minutes (take a walk in the rain, throw a snowball, feel sun on your face, breath in the chill of the air).

This is usually the time of the year when many of us tire of the current weather.  It is often rainy, cold, and just that time of the year when spring and summer cannot get here fast enough.  So change up your mood and take a moment to enjoy the weather today, even if it seems ugly.  Instead of just thinking about the weather as a gauge of what to wear, go out and breath it in for 5 minutes and think about how perfect it is (even if it does not appear to be at first sight)… see it, smell it, touch it, taste it, hear it.

Love each day you have been given, no matter what the weather forecast and be grateful to be free and able to get outside and experience this part of nature.

We are expecting rain, so I plan to put our boots on, jump in some puddles, and feel the pitter patter of rain on my face.