Fern’s Fables…on Dryer Sheets, Fabric Softeners and Some Options for Static Cling

Did you know…

  • the chemicals released by dryer sheets and fabric softeners are toxic?
  • your fabric softener may contain compounds that release formaldehyde with use?    

A study published in 2011 found over 25 different air pollutants in these products, including those known to cause cancer. Here are a few highlights about this subject from Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website:

  • Manufacturers develop their fragrances by mixing a chemical cocktail to produce a scent.
  • There is no regulation for the long-term consequences of exposure to those chemicals. Exposure; vented into our air, and worn on our skin.
  • Manufacturers of these products are not required to disclose the ingredients and are self-regulated.
  • The company must only identify “fragrance” on the label without listing the ingredients used to make the fragrance

How to Get Rid of Static Cling

Fabric softeners work by leaving a residue on your fabrics that never completely washes out. At this point, it might be noted, that whatever is absorbed through your skin can be more harmful than what you ingest. This is because our skin is highly absorbent and what it takes in bypasses the liver (the organ that filters out toxins).

More natural options are safer, less expensive and less toxic to your family and the environment. (You might add up the cost of dryer sheets for the year and find that you could purchase essential oils instead for that lovely smell.)

Some tips and more natural options:

  • Launder your natural and synthetic fabrics separately since nylon and rayon fabrics develop the most static electricity.
  • Take clothes out of the dryer and hang them up when they are still slightly damp.
  • Make up a spray bottle, using distilled water with a few drops of essential oils. Spray on clothes as you take out of the dryer. You can even use this mix to spritz lightly on your clothes before putting them on. Lavender is great for children. Some citrus oils are uplifting. Men often like patchouli or cedar type oils. Be creative and experiment.
  • I have woolen dryer balls from Earth’s General store in Edmonton. They can be sprayed with your spray mix, too, five minutes before taking the clothes out of the dryer.
  • You can dampen a small towel and throw it in to the dryer for five minutes or so before clothes are dry.
  • Ball up a piece of aluminum foil and put it in the dryer.

DIY Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets

You can also make your own fabric softener or dryer sheets at home with natural ingredients, and still enjoy a fresh scent on your clothing.

  • Combine 6 cups of white vinegar, 1 cup of baking soda and 15 to 20 drops of essential oil in the scent of your choice in a large bowl.
  • Once the combination has stopped foaming the oil should not be floating on the top of the liquid and won’t stain your clothes. Pour the liquid into a glass container and use up to 1 cup in your fabric softener dispenser in your washing machine with each load.
  • If you prefer dryer sheets, or want to use both, you can use the same fluid to make reusable sheets. Simply soak clean washrags in the fluid and wring out the excess. Next, hang the washrags until they are completely dry. Toss one in the dryer with your clothes; use up to 10 times before you have to get a new one.

For Your Hair

And lastly for your hair; brush with a wooden brush. Wood does not release electric charge easily. Or you may spritz lightly with a water/essential oil mix. Moisturize your skin well, before putting those clingy clothes on. However, pay attention to what you are putting on your skin. Just some coconut oil, (softened) mixed with castor oil and some essential oil of your liking could be an option.

Read Dr Mercola’s full article

Fern’s Fables…on Gluten-Free Pie Crust

crumb-crustNow that you’ve likely eaten your pie; I would like to share a tip about an alternative crust. A bit healthier, gluten free, and easier to make!

I stumbled on this and found that it works quite well. Basically you can use the same idea as you would for a crumb crust.

  • Use 1/4 cup of softened, coconut oil or butter for the fat
  • Substitute the crumbs for 1 cup of either almond or coconut flour
  • Add a pinch of salt and 1 tsp. of sugar. I only use dark brown sugar (it is actually cane sugar, rather than the GMO beets used for white sugar); or palm sugar, or raw honey, for sweetening.
  • Mix togeither and press into pan
  • Bake about 10 min. @ 375 F.
  • From here you can put in whatever cooked filling you wish. Fruit-type fillings that are cooked & thickened can be used and then you will want to return them to the oven for about 1 hr. until it’s bubbling. If you are doing any kind of custard type pie, such as pumpkin etc. or even quiche, then you can put it in an unbaked version of this crust and bake it all together.

I have even found that with these custard-type pies, you can just coat the bottom and sides of the pan heavily with the coconut oil (maybe 1-2 Tbsp of oil), then put about 1/3 cup of coconut or almond flour in the pan. Shake it all about, like flouring a greased cake pan, coating sides & bottom. There will be more at the bottom and that’s OK.  Pour in custard type filling & bake as usual. The crust is thin, healthy and comes out fine.

You may want to experiment with the bit of salt and sugar in the crust, depending on what the filling is. Also, you can increase the amounts of fat to 1/3 cup with 1 1/4 cup of flour, if the pan is larger.

A short tip for good pumpkin pie is: put in enough spices! If you have boys to eat it, then do experiment! Have fun!

Here is an old family recipe for Sour Cream Raisin Pie that is delicious, easy and could be put in this crust!

Sour Cream Raisin Pie
Beat together 1 1/2 cups of sour cream, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1 Tbsp flour (can be gluten free), 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of nutmeg and a pinch of salt. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of rinsed raisins then pour the mix into the pie shell. Bake at 375 F for about an hour.

Happy new year!

Fern’s Fables… on Gluten-Free Flour

fern-1Gluten-free flour is something many people are trying now in hopes of improving their gut and immune response. It is widely available in many stores; however, if you read the label, you’ll discover it’s a mixture of many starches (or at least includes a large portion of starch), such as corn, tapioca, potato and possibly white rice flour.

These ingredients have a very high glycemic index, which convert easily to simple sugars when consumed. So they are really, for the most part, a poor choice.

What to do? You could make your own!

Handy mix: I have found it handy to have a basic mix on hand, to use for everything. Sorghum, quinoa, brown rice, amaranth and perhaps teff or gluten free oats can make a nice blend; mixed in that order of significance. Do not overdo the amaranth, even though its glycemic effect is lower, since it has a distinctive flavour.

Breads, muffins, etc: If you are making breads, muffins, pancakes or waffles, then millet and buckwheat, or even garbanzo bean flour (chick pea), make great additions to the mix. These have a more distinct flavour that adds to those products.

And most of us have heard of the black bean flour brownie. It does go as a great addition to chocolate products as long as you do not want a fluffy, duffy effect, which these flours won’t produce anyway for the most part.

Play with it: You will want to play a bit with your baking since it seems that you may need less with a gluten-free mix. It tends to produce a drier product. Some folks even add a tablespoon of psyllium husk to bring in more moisture.

You will also find that breads will want some xanthan gum beaten into the batter to hold yeast breads together. About one tablespoon per two to three loaf recipe. You can also add a smaller amount, (half a teaspoon) to more cake-type things.

Where to find it: I have found some of these flours at organic groceries (Planet Organic, Blush Lane Market, Earths General & even the organic delivery options; like Spud as well as The Organic Box). You may also find them at Bulk Barn.

Enjoy, if you find this helpful; or just blow it to the wind if not 😉 fern

Fern’s Handy Gluten-Free Flour Mix

  • 5 cups sorghum flour
  • 3 cups quinoa flour
  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 cup amaranth flour
  • 1 cup teff flour
  • 1 cup gluten-free oat flour

Remembering Friedel Khattab…..November 2016

By Chris

tonyaA year has almost come and gone since the passing of our dear teacher and friend Friedel.

Nearly 92 years old, Friedel spent a large part of her life travelling abroad to study the science and practice of yoga. Teachings learned Friedel generously shared with her students. She believed in the value of age old yoga poses, breathing techniques, mudras, meditation and the science, system and practice of these ancient traditions.

Every moment we were able to share with Friedel was wonderful and practice times together deeply embedded in every cell of our body. We were grateful for it all and we appreciated Friedel, the teachings, the practice and coming together as a community.

Friedel had her usual September Yoga of the Old Masters clinic booked at the studio and we had an Okido workshop in the planning stage for last November when she thought she’d be out of the hospital. All of us planned life as if Friedel would always be here. That’s why her passing felt so unexpected. Friedel was older yes, but she was doing amazingly well. Living on her own, coming out to teach workshops and share what she loved, still spry, wise, with a keen sharp eye that missed little and stop watch always in hand. Friedel used to joke in classes that she only buys ripe bananas. It was always tough to hear her wry joke. The thought of her not being here with us was hard to embrace. Read more >>

Living Yoga with Tonya

tonyaAt the spiritual center I attend we partake in a “White Stone” ceremony every January. It’s a beautiful practice where one is, in essence, “renamed”. The ceremony itself is taken from a tradition as far back as the teachings of Jesus. During those times, when a man was released from prison he was given a white stone upon which he would write his new name. The past was in the past and he would move forward with a clean slate and a new name. In our more modern era we use this ceremony to summon forth a quality and/or and belief we desire to step into. This year mine was ALLOW. I have come to realize that I spend a lot of time organizing and orchestrating my life and the lives of those around me so that everything is the way I like it. It just feels better. I like everyone to be happy and in a good mood. I like everyone to process their drama and get over it quickly and I always like things to be smooth and easy. It dawned on me that perhaps I might be missing out on some of the rich gifts life has to offer with my constant need to have everything the way I like it! For lack of a better example, suppose you spent your entire life never eating ice cream. Someone told you once that it was no good and without trying it for yourself decided that they were right and ice cream was bad. Then one day you accidentally try this odd looking dessert and someone tells you its ice cream and you love it! How sad that you’d spent so many years not enjoying all the flavors and deliciousness this treat had to offer. You’d missed out on so much! Are you starting to get where I’m going with this…….? What if, behind the heartbreak, the trauma, career change (the list is endless) there were amazing opportunities awaiting us, but because we never “ALLOW” ourselves to go through those experiences we never receive the rich gifts on the other side? We also don’t “ALLOW” the universe to unfold the way it desires to. So that became my practice. To allow everyone to be and behave how he or she needed to be in that moment. To be ok with how people and myself showed up in the world in that moment and to ALLOW experiences to unfold in my life without trying to manipulate them in any way. Whewww! It was fascinating to navigate to say the least.


Meet Our Instructor: Katherine Jensen

Katherine JensenWe are excited to have Katherine on our May/June schedule with Spine & Postural Therapeutics. Although Katherine is taking a hiatus during the summer, she will be back in the fall with two weekly Therapeutics classes and her ever-popular Kick “Asana” Yoga (stay tuned for details in our August newsletter).
Please read more about Katherine as she shares her story with you.

Get out of pain and get back to living. This story is not really about me, it’s truly about you! For years I looked for a therapy that would help me through tight body tension and pain in my low back and hips and I found it through Critical Alignment Therapy®. This therapy has allowed me to get back to what I love to do and I have made it my mission to work with those suffering from chronic pain. Injuries, stress, repetitive strain, athletic injuries, car accidents and pain from scoliosis or other spinal issues such as degenerative disc disease (DDD) are just a few on the list of conditions that can be helped by this therapy.

Meet Our Instructor: Jill Gaumont

Jill has been teaching at Yoga for Today for the past 8 years. We appreciate Jill and the passion, love and inspiration she brings to her classes, no matter the style of yoga. Please read more as Jill shares her yoga story with you:

AllisonSmithPhotography3601Like most children who grew up in the greater Edmonton area, I had my first taste of yoga watching and imitating Gerda Krebs on T.V. But it wasn’t until 1999 when I moved to Fort Saskatchewan that I really began my yoga journey.  Growing up in St. Albert I had never heard of a “yoga class” or met a “yoga teacher” but low and behold in this small city there was an abundance of yoga classes and my first and most influential teacher. From the very first class with Joan Randolf I was inspired. And interestingly enough from my very first class I also found myself pregnant for the first time! At the time, there was no such thing as prenatal yoga in our area. So, I went to class did the best I could with the body I had and it changed my life.


Meet Our Instructor: Keltie Barbutza

Many years ago, with two small children at home, I first tried yoga by following Gerda Krebs on TV.  It wasn’t until 2003 that I began taking classes led by Lillian Khattab in Edmonton.  While looking for summer classes in 2004, I found Yoga for Today (YFT), and have been practicing yoga there ever since.

I have noticed increased happiness, health and overall wellbeing with a regular yoga practice and strive to help others gain those feelings.  Yoga brings so much joy to my body, mind and soul and I want to share that experience with everyone.  With the encouragement of family and friends, I completed an apprenticeship with Gerda at YFT in 2009 and Hatha Yoga Teacher Training with Glenda Sartore and Joan Randolph at YFT in January 2011.  Shortly after that, while being measured for a physical, I found out I had grown over an inch taller (I asked to be measured two more times, just to be sure!)  With heartfelt gratitude to Joan for helping me find the curve in my lumbar spine and Gerda for all the posture-improving exercises!

I have attended many more workshops and classes, most recently completing a Prenatal Teacher Training with Colette Crawford (September 2012).

I feel extremely blessed for all I have learned and continue to learn from my many teachers and students.  I am truly grateful to be able to keep sharing my love of yoga with others, and to continue following my passion as a lifelong student and teacher of yoga.

Meet Our Instructor: Michelle Dionne-Nisbet

Michelle3My yoga journey began in 1999, a year after my son was born. I began looking for an activity to get me out of the house, allow me to meet new people and do a bit of stretching. What I also discovered was a whole new outlook on life, granted, it did not happen overnight. I continued taking classes and practicing at home and over time positive changes began to happen. I was becoming physically stronger, mentally focused, emotionally present and developed a greater awareness of the world around me. I knew I needed to share this experience with others, but was terrified at the thought of standing in front of a group and telling them how to move their bodies. My intense fear of public speaking  had me put off Teacher Training for quite some time. Read more >>

Meet Our Meditation Instructor: Kushok Lobsang

KushokWe are pleased to introduce you to a true master in our midst- Kushok Lobsang, Tibetan Buddhist Monk. You may have seen Kushok around the studio on weekends when he run Meditation workshops and classes at Yoga for Today. It is with great honour to have Kushok on our teaching roster and to share his story with you:

Kushok Lobsang Dhamchöe, born in the remote valley of Kyedong, was orphaned at four years of age. His Aunt cared for him within the sacred valley until he escaped from Tibet in 1963. Kushok’s paternal uncle was Drakar Rinpoche Tendzin Norbu, the 16th reincarnation of the Drakar Rinpoches. This monastic lineage is a combination of Kagyu and Nyingma. After Kushok’s uncle’s death the 17th Drakar Rinpoche was discovered at the direction of the previous Karmapa, who named him. He now resides in Kathmandu, Nepal. Kushok’s uncle’s lineage is revered and treasured, and is unique to the valley of Kyedong. Read more >>