August 2009                                                                                                          
Vol 2, Issue 8
WHOLE August 09 Masthead
Queen Aretha Franklin
Back in the day, the song "Natural Woman" by Queen Aretha Franklin was an anthem most sistahs knew word-for-word. I can remember hearing many a sistahfriend (myself included) belting out, "you make me feel like a natural woman!" in passionate chorus from our hearts--fond memories, for sure!

I heard "Natural Woman" on the radio the other day, and the lyrics struck me in a new way this time. One line in particular inspired a different take,

"I'm no longer doubtful of what I'm living for

and if I make you happy, I don't need to do more"...

These lines made me stop and think, what am I living for? What does it take to make ME happy? What is a Natural Woman?

My sistahs. There are so many roles we shoulder to get through the day--mother, provider, love partner, working woman, comforter, caregiver, home manager, cook, chauffeur--the list couldn't possibly be exhausted in these few lines. To keep it all together, we natural women need more than making others happy--our happiness must be at the top of our list!

It is not selfish to care for yourself--it's essential.

Your happiness, your fulfillment are in your own hands and encompass more than what you do for others. It's not what you do, but who you are--true to your core, your potential, and your dreams. Choosing to embrace the essence of self as YOU define you--not what others need you to be--is to become the quintessential  "Natural Woman."

Self-care, self-love. This is what it means to be WHOLE.

The original "Natural Woman" Queen Aretha Franklin is waiting to serenade you at WHOLE Express. See you there!

In This Issue
A Healthier Home the Natural Way
WHOLE Self-Care Inspiration: Simplify
Bodacious Blackberries!
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links
Looking for some quick healthy lifestyle tips? Visit our new blog WHOLE Express.
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There are plenty more issues of WHOLE in our Archive. We'll meet you there!
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WHOLE is a registered trademark

Copyright 2009
Jacci Thompson-Dodd, MA, MSSS

All rights reserved

ISSN# 1946-1631
A Healthier Home the Natural Way
Cleaning Supplies
Did you know that the cleaning products we use can trigger numerous health problems? Migraine headaches, asthma, eczema, and even menstrual irregularities can all be inflamed by exposure to harsh household chemicals. After reading the labels on these products, it's not surprising that our bodies could feel assaulted by these foreign substances.

We're learning more each day about safe, natural alternatives for common household cleaners. Many companies have begun manufacturing "natural" or "green" versions of their products--usually at a premium price!

Hey "Natural Woman," why not make your own products? I'm learning how easy and economical it can be, and it's reassuring to know that every ingredient is safe.

I'm new to making my own household cleaning products, so I turned to a trusted sistahfriend and entrepreneur, Donna Maria Coles Johnson, founder and CEO of the Indie Beauty Network. Here are a couple of her great recipes. For more visit

Citrus Surface Cleaner

This cleanser cuts through dirt fast on kitchen counters and appliances, leaving behind a clean, unmarred finish. A bonus is the scent of citrus, which can freshen even the most stale of kitchens.

1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup baking soda
2 tsp sweet orange essential oil

Blending Procedure:
  1. In a glass bowl, combine the baking soda and borax until smooth.
  2. Add the essential oil and stir until smooth and free of lumps. Store in a glass or heavy plastic airtight container.
  3. To use, dampen dirty area with warm water. Put on gloves to protect your skin and nails. Scoop up Citrus Surface Cleaner using your chosen cleaning utensil (sponge, paper towel, cleaning rag) and rub gently until the area sparkles--and it will! Use more mixture for stubborn stains.
Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Shelf Life: Indefinite

Lemon Cutting Board Cleaner

Wooden Cutting BoardThis easy cleaner helps keep wooden cutting boards fresh and sanitized. The lemon and essential oil sanitize the board while the abrasive action of the salt deeply cleans all the pores of the wood that can trap bacteria. If you use your cutting board for raw meat, get in the habit of using  Lemon Cutting Board Cleaner after every use. Never use the same cutting board for fresh fruits or veggies and meat.

1/2 large lemon
1 tbsp. table salt
1-2 drops lemon juice
1 drop tea tree essential oil

Blending Procedure:
  1. Sprinkle salt onto cutting board. Squeeze drops of lemon juice directly onto the salt. Add the essential oil directly on top of the salt/juice mixture.
  2. Hold the lemon half in your hand--flesh side down--and scrub the fragrant salt thoroughly over the cutting board. Be sure to get all the nooks and crannies! Repeat as necessary.
  3. Rinse with warm water, and let air dry.
Recipes reprinted with the permission of with thousands of people who like to make their own personal care products (like scrubs, powders, baby products, creams, balms and soaps) plus suppliers for the ingredients to make them! Visit MakeYourOwnCosmetics today!
WHOLE Self-Care Inspiration: Grace
Grace is your spirit's call to calm. It washes over you with the cleansing power to extinguish hurt, re-energize your soul and renew your resolve. Grace is patience, knowing that all will be right even when the "right now" is so very wrong.

Grace is authenticity. Daring to wear, think, do, pursue all that your heart speaks. It is beyond words. It is the expression of your own divine nature. It is acknowledging the blessing of each breath, and the beauty in living--however challenging the circumstance.

Grace carries you on a journey from self-criticism to self-supportive. From harried to hopeful. From piecemeal to WHOLE.
Bodacious Blackberries!
This time of year, I especially love living in the Pacific Northwest because blackberries grow wild! These naturally sweet, fragrant berries hang heavy on bushes everywhere--ripe for the picking.

Every time I go out picking these little purple gems, I think of the old adage "The Blacker the Berry, the Sweeter the Juice," turning olden-day disparagement of dark skin into an affirmation of Black beauty.

Looking at the nutritional value of blackberries, there's another reason to extoll their virtue. Blackberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. They're powerful cancer fighters, too! So pile them on, and get the sweet goodness that berries can give!

I love to start the day with blackberries fresh from the vine. Here's a quick recipe to send you out the door with a smile.

"The Blacker the Berry, The Sweeter the Juice" Parfait

Ingredients:Blackberry Parfait 2

3 cups Blackberries*
1 quart plain, low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups granola

Drizzle honey into yogurt and stir until just blended. Wash berries, and let dry in colander or on paper towels. Spoon yogurt into bottom of four tall glasses, followed by layers of granola then berries. Repeat until glasses are filled, ending with a sprinkle of granola on top. Enjoy!

Serves 4

* Another WHOLEsome variation on this parfait is to use a mix of berries including blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.
Thank you for stopping by for this issue of WHOLE. Each month we look forward to hearing what you think of our features, so feel free to drop us a line. Like what you see? Share WHOLE with your sistahfriends, family, and colleagues Forward this issue

Don't forget to visit WHOLE Express too! Our new blog has plenty of healthy eating tips, encouragement, and sistah conversations. Have a look soon and often.

Sending you warm wishes for a happy, restful summer! See you next month!
Yours in health,
Jacci Thompson-Dodd

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Photo credits: Louri Patterson, Leah Marshal, and Hdconnelly