Over the past couple of years, there have been quite a few interesting gizmos and doo-dads which have made their way onto the pages of Natural Living Ideas – and in most cases, onto the kitchen counter, desk, or end table in our homes.
Some of these gadgets remove toxins from our environments while others improve the healthfulness and quality of our food. A handful of these handy devices simply make leading a naturally healthy life much easier.
Whatever their purpose, in the space of time between discovering each new natural health “toy” and the writing of this article, many of these items have earned a place of honor not only for being a boon to our well-being, but also for being really incredibly dag-um useful.
Here are the best of the best (in no particular order) gadgets, tools and gizmos that every natural living enthusiast must own!
1. Essential Oil Diffuser
First appearing on Natural Living Ideas in June of 2014, the essential oil diffuser has made its way into several posts and recently earned its very own feature article: 10 Reasons Every Home Should Have An Essential Oil Diffuser.
Great for solving sleep problems, alleviating sinus and allergy symptoms, boosting mental activity, improving concentration, warding off illness and so much more – the essential oil diffuser is an absolute must-must-must-have!
Recommended Diffuser: ZAQ Dew Multi-Color Litemist Diffuser
Further Reading: 50 Recipes You Have To Try In Your Essential Oil Diffuser
2. Oil Warmer
(While this may seem redundant following the Essential Oil Diffuser, bear with me dear friends. The oil warmer is good for more than just aromatherapy!)
Several months ago, as part of our series on using Coconut Oil for all aspects of your health, Natural Living Ideas compiled 10 Ways To Replace Your Personal Care Products With Coconut Oil from the personal experience and reliable sources around the web. Within this post, we shared what is (in my opinion) the best, most therapeutic use for the Oil Warmer and why it makes the list of must-have natural health gizmos. Here it is again, in an abbreviated and easy-to-follow format:
Step 1. Pick a day when you don’t have to worry about what your hair looks like. Get out your oil warmer.
Step 2. Drop in a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil, light the candle and slowly heat oil to your desired temperature. Mix in essential oils if desired.
Step 3. Pour over scalp and massage in with your fingertips.
The treatment works better the longer you leave it in, so feel free to wear it for as long as you want. Personally, I recommend wrapping your hair in an old bandana and letting the oil soak in overnight.
Warning: This will become an addiction. Not only does the warm oil treatment feel absolutely amazing, regular use of coconut oil on your hair will also give you a clean, healthy scalp and quite possibly the most beautiful hair of your life!
Recommended Oil Warmer: Aromatherapy Soapstone Oil Warmer
The star of one of Natural Living Ideas most popular articles ever, the beautiful and unquestionably healthy Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp is currently the reigning champion of must-have natural health gadgets. If its soft yet stunning hues of pink, orange and amber light aren’t enough to make you want one, let these 10 Reasons To Have A Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp In Every Room Of Your Home pique your interest!
Recommended Himalayan Salt Lamp: Natural Air Purifying HPS Lamp With Neem Wood Base
4. Stainless Steel Klean Kanteen
Earlier this year, the New Wave Enviro stainless steel water bottle snuck its way into Natural Living Idea’s Top 10 Secret-Weapon Super Foods To Help You Lose Weight as the proposed perfect transport and delivery mechanism for your daily [insert number] ounces of water. Since then, a sturdy and reliable Klean Kanteen has supplanted the stylish New Wave Enviro as our BPA-free water vessel of choice.
Available in many sizes, shapes and colors, the Klean Kanteen keeps beverages insulated and fresh without the risk of leaching toxic chemicals into its contents. Kanteens are easy to carry and extremely drop-proof (personally verified.) One Kanteen owner even reported that this handy-dandy canister withstands virtually anything including being used as a makeshift hammer and heated over a campfire to boil water! How’s that for a must-have?
5. Burr Grinder
Most commonly used by coffee connoisseurs to avoid damaging the oils and obtain the best flavour from their beans, the burr grinder was also mentioned briefly in our how-to guide for making incense as an easy way to process tough, woody herbs like cloves and star anise.
Blade grinders (ie: most commercial coffee grinders, food processors, blenders, etc.) work by randomly chopping up material with a series of sharp blades. These machines often require excessive run time or “pulsing” to get contents into some semblance of a uniform particle size. In the process, the blades become hot and can easily singe the food being chopped – not good for delicate oils such as those in coffee and herbs.
Burr grinders on the other hand, break apart whatever materials are run through them using gear-driven plates. The results are beautifully and evenly ground coffee, tea, or herbs with their natural oils released but undamaged.
6. The Hand Blender
Back in December of 2014 as part of our feature on The Wonders of Eucalyptus Oil, we recommended using a hand-held blender for whipping up homemade toothpaste into a pleasantly creamy, toothpastey texture. Since then, this little gizmo has proven itself invaluable in our kitchen for just about every aspect of cooking. For smaller projects, the hand blender is far more convenient than pulling out the big, heavy stand mixer. It cleans up easier than a traditional blender and more often than not, it’s just plain easier to use than the old fashioned double-beater.
If you’ve never tried one before, I highly recommend this hand blender by KitchenAid. True to the brand, this nifty gadget comes with several fun attachments. It’s also easy to use, stores beautifully in its carrying case and looks so stylish in the hand! Must. Have.
7. Silicone Baking Sheets
In our recent post delivering 16 Wonderful Ways To Use Rosehips, we recommended silicone baking sheets for drying fruit leather. Silicone can withstand temperatures well over 400 °F (200 °C) and won’t absorb smells or flavours from the foods you cook on it, making it a wonderful alternative to toxin-coated non-stick cooking implements. Also, in regards to cleaning, silicone baking sheets are just about as easy as it gets.
Recommended: Artisan Silicone Baking Mats
8. Himalayan Pink Salt Block
While Himalayan Pink Salt has yet to appear on Natural Living Ideas in its increasingly-popular HPS block form we can’t discount the benefits of using one nor exclude it from this list.
Naturally anti-microbial, you’ll never have to worry about disinfecting a Himalayan Pink Salt block. If heated slowly, HPS slabs can withstand temperatures upwards of 400 °F (200 °C) for baking and most are attractive enough to be used as decorative serving platters, too. As if that weren’t enough, preparing and cooking meals on an HPS block also adds traces of the salt’s over 80 naturally-occurring minerals to your food. What’s not to love about that?!
9. Cast-Iron Skillet
Originating in China around 200 BC, the cast iron skillet is one of the oldest and most useful kitchen implements still in use around the world today. Recently appearing in our 10 Easy Natural Remedies To Fix An Iron Deficiency, cast iron cooking vessels also have some pretty heavy (pun intended) health benefits – the biggest of which being the tested and confirmed ability to add significant amounts of dietary iron to any foods prepared within them.
If properly cared for, cast iron is also durable enough that you could buy a skillet today, use it for the rest of your life, and even pass it on to your family’s next generation of young chefs when it’s time for them to learn the fine arts of cooking!
Recommended: Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
The only cooking implements in the kitchen that see as much stove-top action as our trusty Lodge cast-iron skillet, are the tea kettle and our newest addition – the GreenPan. (I admit it. I am in love with this thing…)
‘Non-stick’ has been a dirty word in the natural living vocabulary since the dangers of cooking with polytetrafluoroethylene first appeared on our radar. With so many health risks including flu-like symptoms, possible thyroid malfunction, immune system degeneration, and the potential to expunge the lives of pet birds or other small animals – chances are pretty good that if you ever owned a Teflon-coated pan, you’ve long since tossed it in the rubbish bin.
I have some good news for you. We’re taking back ‘non-stick.’
This innovative Belgian company is allowing health-conscious individuals worldwide to enjoy the benefits of non-stick cooking again with its toxin-free, ceramic-coated anodized aluminum and stainless steel cookware. Get one here. You won’t be disappointed.