Common Food Allergy Triggers in Kids Snacks and Gluten Free Banana Bread recipe

Finding safe food for kids with food allergies or food intolerances can be hard, especially if there are multiple allergies or intolerances involved. Luckily, we’ve managed to get some help from our friend Lisa from Happy Tummies to provide us some advice on this!

Kids snacks

The top 8 food allergies are wheat, dairy, egg, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and fish. Sesame is also becoming a big problem and many manufacturers are also labelling food that contains sesame.

One of the biggest problems with labelling in supermarkets is that many labels are unclear. Parents need to be vigilant and look for common allergens with different names. Labelling is getting better with many manufacturers labelling products with allergens if it’s in the ingredients list, however many labels now have ‘may contain’ statements, none of which mean the same thing and can be confusing for parents. In my experience, manufacturers do keep a record of this information and are happy to share it, however it does require quite a lot of work to follow up every manufacturer.

The other problem of course with a lot of supermarket snacks aimed at children is the food additives and preservatives in them. Just because the manufacturers are allowed to put it in the food, it does not mean it’s safe to consume. Parents need to educate themselves about food additives and decide what foods they are happy for their children to eat. There are heaps of books and apps available on this that make it easy for parents to make better choices when doing their grocery shopping.

It’s really easy to bake or prepare some simple snack foods for kids. I like to bake recipes in rotation and freeze so that there is a constant supply of healthy snacks that the kids like to eat and that I am happy for them to eat.

CLICK HERE for your FREE handy baking chart and something special from Happy Tummies.

Feel free to swap ingredients as required to suit your family’s dietary requirements!

If you need more information on food allergies you can find it here at Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia.

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Here is Lisa’s Gluten Free Banana Bread recipe.

happy tummies gluten free banana bread

Ingredients:

½ cup (45g) desiccated coconut

1 cup (140g) sorghum (or rice flour)

½ cup (90g) potato starch

½ cup (75g) rapadura (or coconut sugar / sugar)

2 tsps xanthan gum (or guar gum)

4 tsps baking powder

2 tsps cinnamon

1 tbsp Nutra Organics C Berry Blast (optional)

½ cup (110g) coconut oil, melted

½ cup (125mls) coconut milk – or any dairy free milk

2 medium bananas, peeled and mashed (approx. 280g of banana when peeled)

 

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 160°C
  2. Prepare loaf pan 22cm x 14cm
  3. Put dry ingredients into a food processor or Thermomix and blitz until well combined and desiccated coconut is fine like flour (10 secs, speed 9 in Thermomix)
  4. Add other ingredients and mix until combined (10 secs, speed 4 in Thermomix)
  5. Pour into prepared pan, place in pre-warmed oven and cook for 35 minutes or until cooked through
  6. Turn off oven and leave the cake in the oven for about 5 minutes with the door open so it cools slowly
  7. Remove from oven and sit on wire rack. After about 5 minutes remove from pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely

 

This month’s GIVEAWAY

Purchase any of Resparkle’s baby products (Organic Nursery, Toy & Everyday Cleaner or Natural Baby Laundry & Soaker) and receive a FREE Reusable Food Pouch from Happy Tummies and/or FREE Skin Balm, Baby Oil or Belly Butter samples from BasiK Organics.

(while stocks last)

resparkle baby products

 

A Loaded Load: The Links Between Laundry Detergent & Your Child’s Skin Rash

As a parent, it can be heartbreaking to see your children suffering daily from skin sensitivity. It can also be impossibly frustrating to not know what’s causing it. Nonetheless, according to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology, eczema — also known as atopic dermatitis — is a fact of life for 1 in every 5 children under the age of two.

One of the most distressing aspects of this form of skin sensitivity is the ‘scratch-and-itch’ cycle that perpetuates the reaction: when the skin’s protective barrier is damaged, the sufferer becomes more susceptible to allergens and irritants. Once the skin is irritated, chemicals are released that make the skin itchy. If the skin is then scratched, more chemicals are released and the itch worsens. Even as an adult, not to scratch seems like an impossible act of self-restraint. But for a child? Not a chance.

Many parents look far and wide for a way to stop their child’s eczema — creams, lotions, clothes made of non-irritating fabrics — all to no avail. But what if the cause of your skin irritation was under your nose this whole time? Or, more specifically, in your laundry cupboard?

 

Eczema in Children

Most eczema in children develops between the ages of 2 and 4, with the most severe symptoms usually found in the creases of elbows, behind the knees, across the ankles and even on the face, ears and neck. Although some children will outgrow their eczema, many will take it with them into adulthood. And even if they do outgrow it, this fact is often of little comfort at the time.

Contact with allergens will often worsen the child’s experience of eczema, and many offending substances are common household items — such as soap, water and cleaning chemicals — that are hard to avoid. In particular, children with skin problems will often be more prone to laundry detergent reactions, and the longer the exposure, the more severe the symptoms. As these chemicals strip the skin of its protective barrier, eczema begins develops more frequently.

baby skin rash

Two Types of Skin Reaction

Your child’s skin irritation will fall into either one of two categories:

  1. Irritation: The red, itchy rash will develop as soon as the child’s skin comes into contact with an irritant — for instance, a prickly sweater. If the rash falls into this category, it will go away shortly after the sweater is removed.
  2. Allergic Contact Dermatitis: This form of skin irritation exhibits the same symptom — a red, itchy rash — but the cause will be less obvious, as it will neither appear with immediate contact nor disappear when the irritant is removed. If laundry detergent and/or fabric softener are behind your child’s rash, you may not notice the symptoms for up to a week, as the immune system takes time to recognise allergens, and it can take multiple instances of exposure before the skin will react.

A quick way to determine whether or not the rash is being caused by your laundry detergent is to check under your infant’s nappy, where clothing doesn’t touch the skin. If the rash is there, then it’s not caused by detergent. If it’s not, you may have found your culprit.

 

Getting Rid of the Skin Rash

While there’s nothing good about your child suffering, at least if the skin irritation and sensitivity is being caused by harsh laundry detergents, the problem is comparatively easy — and cheap — to fix.

Allergen avoidance or minimisation is essential to stopping your child’s eczema flares. If the laundry detergent is a prime allergen, then the most effective and immediate action would be to stop using supermarket detergents and softeners — which contain artificial fragrances, dyes and enzymes — in favour of something all-natural and organic.

If your child suffers from skin irritation, then it is also well-advised to wash  store-bought clothing before they wear it. New clothing often carries formaldehyde releasers, which is known to trigger skin irritation and sensitivity. Alternatively, there are a huge variety of organic baby clothing brands in Australia which are perfect for children with sensitive skin, not to mention affordable. Aster & Oak and Purebaby are a couple of our tried-and-tested favourites.

 

Conclusion

1 in 5 Australian children under the age of two suffer from eczema, a recurring and nasty form of skin irritation. This red, itchy rash that results from a break-down of the skin barrier is made worse through contact with allergens and irritants, and perpetuates itself in a nasty scratch-and-itch cycle.

The harsh chemicals contained in common laundry detergents frequently act as irritants, seeping into clothes during the wash cycle and sitting against your child’s skin upon wear.

Although skin irritation that results from contact with allergens is not immediately obvious, it is easily fixed by simply removing the allergens. If your child is reacting to your laundry detergent, the irritation can be stopped by switching to an all-natural, organic baby laundry product that doesn’t contain any of the offending chemicals.

Skip the supermarket this winter

Winter

Baby it’s cold outside.

Melbourne’s winter is pretty infamous for being windy, rainy and freezing! If you’re anything like us, stepping out of the warm comforts on our home into the freezer box of winter feels like a very daunting task. Winter or not, we still need human survival stuff like food, groceries and toilet paper right?

 

 

 

The good news is there are heaps of great local businesses that can help you quit the supermarket this winter and forever if you like!

Here’s the list we’ve compiled:

1. Toilet paper:

  • Who Gives A Crap: Cares for the world and your freezing bums. Get toilet paper delivered to your doorstep. Free shipping over $30.

2. Food:

  • Marley Spoon:  They plan, shop, prep and deliver your week’s meal to your home. All you do is cook! Free delivery to your doorstep.
  • Eat fit Food: Can’t be bothered to cook? Avoid putting on the dreaded “winter weight” with Eat Fit Food. They deliver healthy meal plans to your home. Just heat, eat, nourish!

3. Cleaning Supplies:

  • Resparkle 2U: Delivers 2 months worth of organic cleaning supplies to your home. Bonus: Free metro delivery, pause anytime and natural products that (gasp) actually works!
  • Get $15 off the first Resparkle 2U box. Use coupon code WinterClean at check out. Valid till 1st Sept 16.

4. Skin-care & body care:

  • No matter how cold winter get, yes we still do need to bathe, like everyday. You can’t get past Nourished Life for the most comprehensive range of healthy & safe skin and body care products. Ps. They stock Resparkle too so you can get your cleaning supplies together with all the other natural goodies.

Lemon & Lavender Home Fragrance

Winter has truly began in Australia. As weather gets colder and sometimes dreary, don’t we all long for summer days? While we can’t make summer happen overnight, we can perhaps make our own sunshine by re-creating the scent of summer at home, naturally of course.

This Lemon & Lavender simmering potpourri recipe will transport you instantly to the balmy summer days of lemonade and sunshine.

So crank up the heater, get brewing and into the happy summer mood, right in the comforts of your home.

Lemon & Lavender Simmering Potpourri Recipe

Lemon LavenderINGREDIENTS:
  • One whole lemon, sliced
  • One cup of dried lavender (I used both the leaves and flowers saved from last year’s French lavender.) Place the lavender in cheesecloth if you wish.
  • One teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • One quart of water
  • (Optional: You may add two or three drops of lavender essential oil if you prefer a stronger fragrance.)

 

 

 


 

DIRECTIONS:
Bring the water to a boil.
Add the above ingredients, squeezing the lemons and adding both the rinds and the juice.
Allow to boil for a few minutes to release the scent, then reduce to a simmer.
In about 30 minutes, your whole house will smell wonderful! You can put it in the fridge and reuse it for several days. Be sure to keep an eye on the water level when the potpourri is simmering.
Please note that this is a recipe for potpourri and is not intended as a beverage.

Honey Tahini Cashew Cookies

Valentine’s Day is not just for lovebirds, it’s the perfect time to show some appreciate to the many special ones in your life whether your parents, your friends, workmates or neighbours. Love is a universal desire and everyone wants to feel loved.

A sweet yet simple way to do so is to bake & share some cookies! Our friend Amy from The Holistic Ingredient shares a Honey Tahini Cashew Cookies which not only taste sensational but they’re actually good for you too.

What better way to show that special honey that I’m nuts about you! (corny I know but couldn’t help it)

Happy Valentine’s Day & Enjoy!

Honey Tahini Cashew Cookies

Cashew Cookies

Ingredients 
Makes 18

1 ½ cups cashew meal*

2/3 cup white sesame seeds

1/3 cup unhulled white tahini

¼ cup raw honey

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon cinnamon, ground

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 175 0 C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

In a large mixing bowl place cashew meal, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a small

mixing bowl combine tahini, raw honey, vanilla extract and coconut oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mix and use your hands to combine the dough. It should be slightly tacky to touch. Roll into balls of 2cm diameter.

Place the sesame seeds into a shallow dish. Roll balls in sesame seeds then place onto baking tray. Press down to 0.5 cm thickness.

Bake for 10 minutes. If you would like even crispier cookies flip and bake for a further 5 minutes. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

* To make cashew meal, simply blend raw cashews in a high-powered blender until it resembles course flour.

Smoked Salmon & Buckwheat Crepes Recipe – so frenchy, so chic

Crepes – a classic and very versatile French dish that can be enjoyed day or night, savoury or sweet, top with just about anything you can imagine.

Simply swapping regular flour with buckwheat flour makes the classic crepes feel a whole lot healthier and “gluteny”. We assure you it actually tastes better. Here we’ve paired the crepes with baked-on eggs and topped with smoked salmon and creme fraiche just to make it a little more fancy.

buckwheat crepesIngredients

150g (1 cup) Buckwheat Flour

10 eggs, 2 beaten, 8 whole

125ml (1/2 cup) milk

Smoked Salmon

Creme Fraiche

Instructions

  1. Place flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre.
  2. Pour in beaten eggs and milk. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Add 250ml water and whisk. Batter should be thin enough to just coat your finger. Add more water if needed.
  4. Cover and stand for 30 minutes.
  5. Heat a slightly greased heavy-based pan or crepe pan over medium heat.
  6. Pour in 60ml of batter, swirl pan to coat base.
  7. Crack an egg into the centre and cook for 3 minutes until egg is just set.
  8. Fold in sides of the crepe so that the egg is partly exposed.
  9. Top with smoked salmon and serve with micro-greens/side salad.

 

 

Surprising Health Benefits of Cucumber Water

Cucumber WaterThis summer has delivered many scorcher days across Australia, making so important to stay well hydrated. Make plain water taste better by adding some fresh fruits/veggies, so you’re likely to drink more H2O.

We highly recommend simply adding cucumber & mint. This is not only adds super refreshing flavour, cucumbers are chock full of nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, calcium, vitamin K and potassium. That means you could be reaping benefits like great skin just by adding some slices to your water. If it sounds easy, that’s because it is.

So what’s so great about cucumber water? Here are 4 surprising healthy benefits of cucumber water:

  1. Weight Loss benefits :

 Cucumbers act as a natural diuretic helping you get rid of that excess water and bloating. Not only that, but cucumber water makes plain water taste better, so you’re likely to drink more H2O. Water is an important factor in preventing constipation, which can cause swelling in the abdomen and add on a few extra pounds. Also, sufficient water intake helps your body’s natural detoxificationprocesses, which makes it function more efficiently, thereby facilitating weight loss.

 

2. Detoxing Properties

Use cucumber water during a detox program. It contains antioxidants that will help battle free radicals, and helps the body flush out built-up toxins thanks to its hydrating effect. Detoxing the body doesn’t have to be a drastic 1 time event, you can cultivate healthy every day habits to help your body stay clean with daily attention to the foods that you’re taking in, as well as avoiding foods that are known as being toxic to the body. This sort of regular maintenance keeps you feeling great all year long.

3. Healthy Skin: 

To give your skin even more cucumber benefits, you can wash your face with cucumber water. It refreshes the skin, closes pores and helps prevent oiliness. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can make your own cucumber cleanser with this recipe from The Times of India .The silica and antioxidants help your skin stay clear and supple. Wash your face with cucumber water in addition to your usual acne routine to reduce redness.

4. Strong Muscles

The same silica in cucumbers that helps the skin, also helps your muscle tissues healthy. It’s a great choice if you’ve added a strength training regimen such as barre or pilates workouts to your lifestyle, or if you want to make sure that your muscles have all of the nutrients needed to function at their best. A daily glass of cucumber water makes a great contribution to the overall health of your muscles, and your body in general.

 

 

A Home Sanctuary in 3 Easy (Budget Friendly) Ways

It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life. You may be constantly pulled in different directions whether as a super mum, corporate/business high-flyer. After a long day, our home is a place where we want to feel supported, at peace, inspired and free to be ourselves. In a nutshell, our homes should be sanctuaries for our bodies, minds, and spirits. It should be restorative and far from the stress-filled world of work, deadlines, and traffic jams.

But if your house isn’t the sanctuary you need it to be, here are 3 tips to help you create that calming atmosphere, without breaking your bank:

  1. Create a special “me” corner

Corner290290The need for privacy is universal, and an effective sanctuary is a retreat from outside intrusions. So corners, nooks, alcoves and even a whole room (if space permits) are among the most welcoming, natural sanctuary spaces.

Once you’ve picked your “Me” spot, there should be an element of familiarity to your sanctuary, so decorate yours with the things you really love. Keep it simple though as clutter will only distract you from getting into the “calm” zone. I’m personally loving the idea in the above photo. I can imagine myself reading, napping and sipping tea in that corner all day.

If you’re thinking, “I’m a mum, I don’t have me time, much less a me spot”. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier (instead of watching TV) and spend some time in your me spot and do whatever relaxes you.

2. Go with the flow

MJ-99-56-water-4Nothing brings calm to your home instantly than the gentle sound of flowing water. Place this near your me-spot and let the flowing water bring stress relief and relaxation.

You can also make a fountain yourself with a small water pump (often found in aquarium stores and pond suppliers, for less than $10), rocks from your garden, and a bowl. Some of the best fountains are the ones that are homemade. Learn how to make your own water feature in our last post.

 

3. Scent is key

Scent is Key! Studies show that 75% of emotions are triggered by smell which is linked to pleasure, well-being, emotion and memory. I find this fascinating and quite true. Here’s my go to “happy calm” essential oil blend which I use in our aroma-diffuser: 4 drops Lavender + 2 drops Cedarwood + 2 drops Orange. For more essential oil blend recipes, Easy Aromatherapy is a great resource.

On this note, make sure the indoor air in your home is free from toxic pollutants released from chemical cleaners. The simple solution to this is to switch to 100% natural cleaners such as Resparkle.

There’s no better time than to take the opportunity of this brand new year to re-establish your home as a wellness sanctuary. We’d love to see photos of your home sanctuary! Share it on Facebook or Instagram and hashtag #livehealthychoosebetter

 

 

Homemade Tabletop Water Feature

Creating your own table top fountains is a wonderful way to bring out your creativity and self-expression while simultaneously relieving stress and enhancing your interior décor and fengshui.

There are many unique benefits to having a fountain at home or work:

  • The gentle soothing sound of flowing water can help you relax and meditate in your bedroom after a hard day’s work;
  • Fountains humidify the indoor air, especially if your home or workplace is dry due to continual air-conditioning. This is extremely helpful in preventing your skin from drying out.
  • Fountains release negative ions, said to promote better moods and concentration. This is especially important in today’s electronic world as gadgets emit negative ions in our homes.

 

waterfeature290Building a water fountain can be as simple as putting some stones and a small pump into a container with water. It does not have to be expensive or fancy. And personal is what having a fountain of your own is all about.  You might include special coins from a treasured trip abroad, shells from a beach-combing bonanza, a charm from your grandmother’s bracelet, a memento from your first love.

Whatever treasures you choose to stamp your tabletop fountain as your own, know that you can change it as easily as you change your mind or your mood. Yet it will remain immutably, unmistakably yours—and always just right.

 

 

To make your own tabletop fountain, you’ll need:

1 A waterproof container or bowl of proper depth.

Choose a container between 8-16 inches across in diameter and depth of at least 4-6 inches. The water has to cover the pump; otherwise, the pump will burn out. You can use ceramic bowls, glass, or wood boxes. The easiest and least expensive containers are plastic pots or ceramic bowls.

Look in your cupboard for a rarely used casserole, serving dish, punch bowl, or fruit bowl or even head to your nearest op-shop. A great way to up-cycle!

Sea-Shells Water Fountain
Or get creative such as using sea shells!

 

2. A small water pump and clear plastic tubing (1/2″ inner dimension or 5/8″ outer dimension).

Fish tank pumps are fine. The smallest ones work well for the typical size containers. Some shops supply suction cups with water pumps. Both the pump and tubing can be found at an aquarium, hardware, or garden supply store. To straighten the hose, boil it in water for a while.

3. Rocks; pebbles; slate; crystals; semi-precious stones; sea shells, anything that goes in water can be used.

Each item can have a special meaning, thus adding to the individuality of your fountain

If you select rocks from your garden make sure you clean them well. We suggest soaking them in Resparkle’s Dishwashing Liquid and give it a good scrub.

4. Plants add greenery to your fountain. A small clipping will do nicely. You could also use a small pot or glass bottle [baby food jar], fill it with water, put the plant inside and place it inside the fountain bowl.

Steps:

  1. Place the decorative slate or tile on the table. Place the bowl on the slate or tile.
  2. Place the pump at the bottom of the bowl, taking care to see the cord is draped to the back of the container. Use suction cups to make the pump stick to the bottom of the container.
  3. Add tap water to more than cover the intake value [2″ minimum]. Plug the pump into the electric outlet. (It is advisable to test out the pump in a bucket or sink before placing it in the container.) Unplug the pump to adjust the water flow, if needed.
  4. Cut the tubing length to fit your container and design. Fit one end of the tubing to the pump spout. Place larger rocks to cover the pump and fill the bottom of the container.
  5. Arrange the smaller rocks and tiles /slate by stacking them so as to create a diverse and irregular path for the water flow. You can reduce the water flow from a geyser to a gurgle by covering the open end of the tube with tumbled glass.
  6. Plug in the pump, adjust the water volume and stones as needed to produce the sound that appeals most to your ears.
  7. Place figurines, plant cuttings, ivy, moss, shells or tiles to hide the tubing and electric cord.

TIP: Place a candle in a candleholder beside the fountain, the light from the candle will glisten on the water and reflect its light onto the fountain arrangement.

Healthiest Sangria Ever

You know what we love about the holiday season? The happy buzz we get from sipping cocktails with family and friends, the endless days of festivities. It’s just such a joyful time to be.

The only problem: You may be pouring on the sugar and calories if you’re not paying attention to what you’re sipping through at parties.

BUT there’s ALWAYS a healthier solution yes?

So we’ve done a healthy makeover of the refreshing sangira without sacrificing any of the buzzy delights!

Start with a red wine base, which contains healthy antioxidants & then add fiber-rich fruits like berries, pears and oranges. Top it off with sparking water instead of the usual soda or syrup.

As healthy as it sounds, it’s still alcohol and should be enjoyed in moderation.

Summer Sangria

Serves 10

Sangria1.5 bottles red wine
1/4 cup triple sec
2 cups sparkling lemon/lime/orange-flavored water (get brands that has no added sugar)
1 pear diced
1 cup fresh strawberries, diced
2 oranges diced or sliced (not peeled)
1 cup pineapple chunks
1/4 cup orange juice

 

 

Directions

  1. Combine everything (except the sparkling water) in a large pitcher, and store in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  2. Before serving, add the sparkling water to the pitcher, stir completely, and serve!

Let’s get Ready for Christmas | Week #4 | Decorate

WEEK #4 – DECORATE 

Holy Dooley! We’re one day early, but You might as well say that December is here and it’s time to turn our attention to decorating.  With a little organisation and planning, this can truly be a magical moment for you and the family.

 

 

To Do This Week

  • * Remind yourself of your theme
  • * Take a quick stocktake of decorations from last year
  • * Purchase decorations missing from your list and
  • * Have FUN decorating
  • * Don’t forget to buy the third group of pressies this week

 

Set aside a Sunday afternoon (or a time that suits your family), prepare some snacks and maybe a few cheeky drinks.  Decorating is a fun time for the family, so enjoy the time together.

See you next week – we’re going to get our Cooking on!

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DOWNLOADS

ChristmasDecorationList 

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WANT SOME GIFT INSPIRATION?  

Check out these wonderful businesses, doing wonderful things for You, Your Family and the Planet.

SKIN-CARE/Cosmetics

  1. DNA Elements
  2. Simple as That
  3. 100% Pure 
  4. Jacqueline Evans
  5. Luk Beautifood Lipstick
  6. Nourished Life: One-stop for non-toxic skincare, cosmetics & home-care products.

TOOTHPASTE

  1. Grants of Australia 

SHAMPOO

  1. Weleda Hair-care 

GO PLASTIC FREE

  1. 4 My Earth: Lunch boxes, Food Wraps & all things non-plastic
  2. Biome Eco Store

Organic Cotton

  1. Bhumi Organic Cotton : Bedsheets, Quilts, Towels, Throws.
  2. Pure Baby: Organic baby clothes

Food for Every Day Health

  1. Matcha Maiden : 100% pure organic green tea leaves ground into powder. Up to 137 times the antioxidants of regular green tea!
  2. Remedy Kombucha: A super healthy alternative to frizzy drinks!
  3. Whole Kids: Healthy snacks for kids and adults too!

Household Cleaners

Resparkle of course! We’re the only home-care brand in Australia that is truly 100% natural and hold a organic certification by NASAA.

There you have it. All you need to KEEP CALM & QUIT CHEMICALS.

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