Category Archives: Natural Remedies

Probiotic “Green” House Cleaning

You are probably familiar with the idea that eating probiotics, like the ones found in yogurt and other cultured foods, are good for you and help balance out the “bad” bacteria, especially in your digestive track. And you have probably heard about the risks of overusing antibiotic medicine and antibacterial soaps and cleaning products. But did you know that probiotics can be used to clean your home?

Probiotics are microorganisms, usually bacteria, that are all around us… in a “biofilm” in our guts, on our skin, on surfaces in our home and are considered to be beneficial or healthy. For more on this, I loved the article by Michael Pollan, Some of My Best Friends are Germs, that was on the cover of the New York Times Magazine a few months ago. He talks about how we are really “superorganisms,” sharing our body with 100 trillion microbials and of the harm we have unwittingly done in the last decade by using antibiotics.

Probiotic Cleaning

I recently had the opportunity to try out a local San Diego company’s housecleaning services and to speak at length with one of the employees about probiotic cleaning. What interested me in this company, Naked Clean, was their use of special probiotic cleaning products instead of harsh chemicals. I have been trying to move away from all antibacterial and bleach-based products in my home. I have been trying to use things like vinegar and baking soda but have still been looking for something better. You can read more about why they use probiotics here.

Naked Clean Green House Cleaning

I first heard about Naked Clean on SanDiegoBargainMama.com and thought it sounded pretty cool. I’m normally sensitive to artificial scents, but pregnant I’m even more so. So when the opportunity to review them came up, I jumped. Full disclosure: I received a free demonstration of their house cleaning (2 housekeepers for 1.5 hours) and a sample of Naked Clean’s probiotic cleanser. The opinions expressed are entirely my own, based on their sample cleaning and my own use of their cleaner, primarily in my kitchen. I am also human and any errors or inaccuracies are unintentional and will gladly be corrected.

What most impressed me from their sample cleaning was the white kitchen sink and sparkling, spotless stainless faucet, even brighter than when it has been bleached. At first I thought I might be imagining it, but not only did my sink get as bright white as when it has been bleached, but it actually seemed to STAY white for days, even after dumping coffee grounds in the sink.

When I told Dave, the in-home estimator at Naked Clean, how the sparkling white kitchen sink impressed me, he explained a little more about how it worked. He said that bleach appears to whiten the sink or tile grout because it actually eats away a thin layer of the enamel or porcelain each time it is used. With time, it makes the sink more porous so that it will actually stain more quickly in the future. Their probiotic cleaner, on the other hand, contains a natural cleanser, or surfactant, as well as the probiotics. The surfactant does basic cleaning and the probiotics work on the layer of microscopic biofilm that can contain harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, and E. Coli. What’s more, he explained, the probiotics stay alive for three days. So even after a surface has been cleaned, they continue to protect, without you having to do anything. This immediately piqued my interest. I have always had a phobia of the cooties from raw chicken and, ever since my husband and I suffered Montezuma’s revenge for weeks from campylobacter, I have wanted everything STERILE!


I can imagine the skeptics doubting the claim “clean once and it stays protected for three days.” Well, there is some good evidence to back it up! This study, conducted in Europe, compared cleaning a hospital with probiotics instead of antibacterial disinfectants. With the rise in MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant infections, hospitals have an interest in a disinfectant that can protect vulnerable patients without causing more super-germs. On the other hand, harmful bacteria do need to be managed. The results showed that, not surprisingly, traditional antibiotic disinfectants killed all kinds of bacteria (good and bad) quickly. However, by wiping out both harmful and beneficial bacteria, they created a blank canvas in which the harmful bacteria quickly repopulate. The probiotic cleaner on the other hand, reduced the harmful bacteria and maintained the healthy balance for three days. The study explains:

The idea behind COMPETITIVE EXCLUSION is that during the cleaning procedure a layer of probiotic bacteria is placed on the treated surface, therefore, immediately occupying the ‘field’, the area treated, with beneficial (good) bacteria. These probiotic bacteria act like allied “solders” that overwhelm the area and that will consume all of the available food sources (including dead organic matter by means of necrotrophy), leaving nothing behind for potential pathogenic invaders requiring space and food. The probiotic bacteria are formulated to be extremely efficient and outdo all other (pathogenic) bacteria. Additional to competitive exclusion, also, most important, QUORUM SENSING between pathogenic bacteria is influenced. This is an extremely fast way of communication between bacteria, making use of signal molecules. When the probiotic bacteria are applied to a surface, this immediately results in the fact that pathogenic bacteria, by means of quorum sensing, are communicated about this unfavorable condition, causing them to go into an inactive metabolic state.

This info-graphic summarizes how this works:

Probiotic Cleaning

Naked Clean’s Green House Cleaning Service

I have been a fan of getting a little “help” around the house for years. Even back in the days when I was a graduate student, working for free in this lovely system called “interning,” the little bit of money I could devote to a bimonthly professional cleaning was well worth the time and agony it saved me. Let’s just say that I like a clean and sanitary home more than I like actually cleaning. Once I moved in with Papa Bird, who likes things even neater than me, having regular professional help cleaning the house prevented a lot of fights. Once every two weeks we don’t have to worry about who is going to do the dishes or finish the laundry. A colleague of mine who is a Marriage and Family Therapist once said that paying a housekeeper was money better spent than on couple’s therapy.

Scheduling with Naked Clean was pretty simple. I was given a one hour window of when they would arrive. The house cleaners usually work in teams of two. One nice touch I appreciated: I received an email confirmation the day before. Overall, the cleaning they did was thorough and professional and I love that there was no chemical smell from the products. When I used the probiotic cleaner afterwards, I thought it had a light, fresh scent, but apparently it contains no fragrance at all. I used to hate the idea of giving Little Bird a bath in a tub that had been cleaned with bleach and other chemicals and I’m so happy to have found a natural alternative.

You would think that green cleaning services would be expensive, especially since all of the products and supplies are provided by them. They advertise prices that are a little more than hiring someone off the street, but less than most cleaning companies, and I find that to be true. For example, they start at $65 for 5 rooms.

I’m also happy to extend a special offer to my readers: $40 off your first cleaning when you mention the Baby Bird’s Farm blog! Contact them here. I hope you do and let us know what you think!

Updates and News

Hey all, I’ve got a few quick updates!

1. I’ve joined theboobgroup.com as a regular blogger. My first post, on Breastfeeding While Pregnant, was published this week.

Breastfeeding While Pregnant

2. Next, if you read my post on Our Baby Centered Approach to Introducing Solids, you may have seen that I recently joined a taping of the Boob Group podcast on “Breastfeeding and Introducing Solids” as a panelist. The podcast is now live and available here or through the podcast app on your smart phone.

Introducing Solids


3. And congratulations to Tamara, winner of our giveaway of three of our favorite natural morning sickness remedies! Although her selection was random, I was happy our winner is someone who can currently benefit from some relief. I hope at least one of the products helps her!

Win a Morning Sickness Prize Pack!


Win Mama Bird’s Natural Morning Sickness Remedies Gift Bag!

Want to win the natural morning sickness remedies pictured in my post, Mama Bird’s Big List of (Mostly) Natural Morning Sickness Remedies?

Win a Morning Sickness Prize Pack!

I’m giving away a prize pack of three of my most favorite! All you have to do is comment on the original post with which method you would most likely try, who you would like to give the gift to, or with what worked for you. You may enter once each day, starting NOW, and ending at midnight (PST) one week from now (Thursday, May 9th.) The winner will be selected randomly from the comments, using random.org. Remember to comment on the original post, not on this one, so that the comments are all in one place!

One winner will win one (1) package each of Psi BandsPreggie Pop Drops, and Ginger Chews (as pictured above.) The prizes will be mailed free of charge within the United States.

That’s it! No other catch or requirements. But feel free to share with friends and subscribe to the blog in the box in the upper right, “like” us on Facebook, and/or follow on Twitter and Pinterest!


Mama Bird’s Big List of (Mostly) Natural Morning Sickness Remedies

First, an announcement: I’m pregnant again! I’ve shared about baby chicks, baby goats and now a brand new (human) baby bird is coming.

Next, a proclamation: I hate feeling nauseous and throwing up! The good news is that I learned a lot of natural morning sickness remedies (and a few not so natural) my first go around. I had it pretty bad and now consider myself a bit of an expert. The next day after my positive home pregnancy test, I jumped on Amazon and ordered a few provisions.

18 (Mostly) Natural Morning Sickness Remedies

Not a fan of being sick, either? Here is a list of all of the remedies I have tried and found helpful. They are roughly in order from more natural to more intensive. Please remember that I am not a physician and you should always consult your own midwife, doctor, or care provider regarding your own particular health.

  1. Preggie Pop Drops. These are little sour candies. The company also makes lollipops, but I find them too big. The drops can really help you get to the place where you are ready to eat something else. They are also good to have stashed in your purse, diaper bag and desk at work.
  2. Crackers. Keep them on your bedside table. Eat them when you wake up in the middle of the night and upon first waking. My first pregnancy I liked water crackers, but this time I like Hawaiian soda crackers. (I have heard that there is something about baking soda that settles the stomach.)
  3. Psi Bands!!! These are bracelets that push on a pressure point on your inner wrist that directly reduces nausea.  Crazy, but they really work to take the edge off. On bad days, I wore them nearly the whole day and took them off to sleep. Sea Bands are a similar concept but look a little like an ace bandage.


  1. This may sound gross, but if you are for sure going to throw up, eat something that isn’t so bad coming up, like applesauce. My first pregnancy, I could guarantee vomiting at least once in the morning throughout weeks 8-16, and this helped it go a little easier.
  2. Fresh Ginger. You can make tea, add it to smoothies…
  3. Ginger Candy. There’s ginger hard candyginger chews, ginger gum, and crystalized ginger. Spicy, but effective.

  1. Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale. Start by sipping just a little.
  2. Eat like a toddler. Really the secret is to keep food in your stomach. Frequent, small meals are the way to go. At the peak of morning sickness, I ate something every 30 minutes. This time around, I snack whenever I feed Little Bird a snack (usually the same thing), and it works out. Also, snacks and sweets are good to get you to the place you can eat, but the goal is to eat a mini balanced meal. Protein and complex carbohydrates are especially important in making you feel good again.
  3. Humor your cravings and aversions (as long as they aren’t totally unhealthy or unsafe.) Pregnancy likes/dislikes are fickle, but for the most part, go with them. Can’t get enough fresh watermelon? Great! My first pregnancy, after days of not wanting to eat anything, I found that I could eat fresh Vietnamese spring rolls. I then ate them four days in a row.
  4. Going for a walk outside. Yup, the last thing you probably want to do. But getting outside and getting the blood flowing can help. Other gentle exercise, like yoga, could help, too. I like to stay very active during pregnancy, typically with Bar Method, but first trimester is definitely a time to find balance with gentle, easy exercise.


  1. Coca-cola. I know, not very natural. But my mother is from the South and gave us a little bit of coke when we were sick and it strangely can settle the stomach. (Like the ginger beer or ginger ale, start by sipping a little, a whole can would probably make me feel worse from all the sugar.) If you are worried about GMO corn syrup, try a Mexican market. The coke sold in bottles is usually made with cane sugar. You can also buy the mini cans instead of 12oz ones.
  2. Vitamin B-6 was recommended by my doctor. I personally didn’t find it super helpful. A fried of mine found good results with a shot of B-6, which is usually a much larger dose.
  3. Soothing teas. I personally didn’t find tea appetizing, but others find pregnancy teas soothing. A Facebook friend suggested drinking it iced. I found making my Red Raspberry Leaf tea iced for the third trimester vastly improved the taste. Here is a recipe.

This next section are remedies that you may want to tell your doctor/midwife you are using, just to be sure that they aren’t contraindicated in your particular case.

  1. Acupuncture. Chinese Medicine has been the single most helpful remedy for both of my pregnancies. When selecting a practitioner, find one who specializes in OB/GYN. For my first, even after morning sickness subsided, I continued going regularly for all of those pesky, but normal, pregnancy symptoms throughout the entire term. If you are in San Diego, I recommend Eti Domb, L.Ac. (You can also read in this post how it helped naturally induce my full term baby.)
  2. Along with acupuncture, Chinese Herbs have been used for millennia. It has always seemed strange to me that western medicine  says to avoid herbs of any kind during pregnancy, while still prescribing heavy pharmaceuticals. Their answer: there hasn’t been enough studies to prove the safety of herbs. Well, turns out there is plenty of peer-reviewed evidence published. It’s just in Chinese!! I have been amazed by the benefit I’ve received from herbs given to me in conjunction with acupuncture. Many of the ingredients are not that scary: ginger, licorice, orange peel, cinnamon, date…  (I tend to be a rule follower and dutifully informed my doctor of everything I am taking. At first the doctors got into a tizzy that licorice could raise my blood pressure, but since mine remains 100/50, they have grudgingly approved of the tincture.) If you want to consult with someone, Eti is available by phone for those outside of San Diego. My friend Ahlea also consults locally and by phone on pre- and postnatal nutrition and herbs.
  3. Two over the counter medications that I did not try, but that my doctor recommended are Benadryl and Unisom (especially in combination with B-6). I didn’t try them out, but it might be worth discussing a trial of one or both with your doctor before trying a prescription.


And if all that fails and you are interested in talking to your doctor about a prescription, here are my thoughts on a few medications I have tried. Remember, I am not a doctor, just offering my own personal reviews.

  1. Zofran (Ondansetron) is prescribed for nausea and vomiting associated with surgery, cancer and Hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme morning sickness marked by dehydration.) In my case, I was given a pill that dissolved in my mouth and tasted like mint and artificial sweetener. It worked like a miracle but had a catch, the next day after using it I invariably suffered from painful constipation. Thankfully, this pregnancy I have only had to use Zofran once, but during my first, although I treated it as my last resort, I did have to use it regularly in order to function at work. I also used the smallest amount possible, and often found a quarter of a pill helped. Although I tried not to use it, sometimes simply having it in my bag with me eased the anxiety that I wouldn’t be able to get through the day. For other nursing mothers: my doctor (and my own research) indicated that Zofran is acceptable to use while breastfeeding, but obviously do your own research and use caution. (Thankfully I managed to always keep myself hydrated and nourished and did not have to go to the ER. But for those that do, Zofran is often given IV, along with fluids.)
  2. Phenergan (Promethazine) is also prescribed for Hyperemesis gravidarum. It is  an antihistamine and is very sedating. Its use is NOT recommended during breastfeeding.  I did not like it at all. Even a quarter of a pill knocked me out completely in a “drugged” kind of way. I can’t imagine anyone being able to use it while caring for a toddler. But everyone reacts differently!

So there you go! More than enough ideas to at least start with.

Enter a giveaway of a prize pack with my favorite remedies here!

What worked for you? please comment and share morning sickness remedies that you recommend or would like to try.

Disclaimer: I am an Amazon Affiliate, meaning qualifying purchases made through links in this post, any post, and in our Store, are fulfilled by Amazon and may result in a small percentage as a referral fee being paid to Baby Birds Farm. Your price will never go up because of that, in fact, you will automatically get the lowest price Amazon offers. Purchasers are strictly anonymous, and we are never informed of who makes purchases or what they buy. If you do buy something I’ve featured, or even just do your general shopping of anything on Amazon, we appreciate your support!

Baby Birds No Longer

Today is the 17th and my Baby Bird is 17 months old. She has been a toddler for quite some time. Running, coloring, eating PB&J and saying “no!” (All at the same time.) I suppose it is past due that she get a promotion. From this point on she will now be called “Little Bird.”

She is not our only baby bird growing up. With the passing of Steve, “Bebe,” the chick in our banner and Facebook profile picture, who we watched hatch from an egg, is now our senior hen. She is a proficient layer, laying a large, light brown egg daily.

Bebe, all grown up

Although we don’t have any roosters, we were lucky to watch Bebe and her sibling hatch and grow. A few years ago my husband noticed that one of our hens, Butters, a sweet and social Buff Orpington, was broody. “Broody” hens sit on the eggs all day trying to hatch them. In the wild this is obviously a necessary characteristic in order for the eggs to survive. However, most laying hens have the trait of broodiness bred out of them as it can disincline them to lay more eggs. For the purposes of egg production they simply need to lay the egg and move on.

When picking up our organic, soy-free, Modesto Milling poultry feed and scratch from White Mountains Ranch, Papa Bird chatted with the owner about how to get Butters to stop being so broody. She surprised us by suggesting that we let her! She graciously gave us four fertilized eggs to take home and let her sit on. Butters was a wonderful foster mom. She sat and sat and sat and sat…

And finally, one day in the spring, we had babies!! Two of the eggs hatched. Give me the meanest, grouchiest person, put newborn chicks in front of them and I guarantee they will just melt. There is nothing cuter.

Token and Bebe

One chick was strong and healthy. Since the baby bird had black feathers, well black fuzz, Papa Bird kept the South Park references going and named the chick “Token.” The little one we called “Bebe.” Unfortunately, little Bebe was born with a club foot. Her foot curled in and didn’t open up properly. She couldn’t put weight on it or walk properly. I imagine that back in the old days, on a large farm, such a deformed chicken wouldn’t get the chance to survive. Then again, in modern, large scale egg production the chickens live in cages and aren’t really allowed to walk around. So who knows what they do.

Papa Bird did a little research and decided to try to splint her foot. I was so proud of him and his All Creatures Great and Small skills. As I played nurse and lent extra hands, he experimented with various splints for Bebe. First he tried a little piece of cardboard and some medical tape. Unfortunately, Butters kept pecking at the white cardboard. We were worried she would hurt the poor baby’s foot. Eventually we found that what worked best was just a bandaid or two. Fortunately, after about a week her foot worked well, if a little smaller at first. Now you can’t even tell!

Bebe's BandAid Foot

Token, on the other hand, had a different problem. You see, he ended up being a “he” which is illegal in the City of San Diego! We took him to White Mountains Ranch later that year so he could enjoy the spoils of country life.

Click on any photo in the gallery to enlarge.