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Changing Labels and Your Health

Although I made some headway with my detoxing in 2012 and limiting my wheat intake in 2013, I have still gained weight. Sigh. I am currently at the heaviest I’ve ever been. I’m not only heavy, I’m also what I would consider ‘dangerously’ out of shape. No, I don’t have trouble walking up stairs or anything, but man, if the zombie apocalypse hit tomorrow I would not be running for long!

I also have trouble with my knees, lower back, feet and movement in general. ‘Try Yoga’, I hear those yogis calling. Yes, I’ve tried that. ‘Try walking’, I hear others in perfect chorus. Yes, I’ve tried that as well. The truth of the matter is, I need help. In the past few months, I’ve come to realize this and I’ve sought it out.

Firstly, I knew that even when I was at my healthiest, I still subscribed to certain labels of myself that have not changed. These labels still haunt me to this day. With the help of an alternative practitioner, on my blog I affectionately call, ‘My Adele’, I have delved into some of these labels. She has been trained in hypnotherapy and we used this to look at the more prominent labels I have put on myself. The exercise was to take these labels, erase them and replace them with a more positive one.

The first label was ‘SELFISH’. When I told my husband this, he was flabbergasted. To him, I am one of the most selfless people he knows, but that doesn’t matter…this is about the way I see myself. I’m not sure why I’ve taken on this label. I can be as simple as something I was told as a child and internalized it. I took this label, erased it and replaced it with the word  ‘SELFLESS’.

The second label I came upon was ‘UNDESERVING’. This one I already knew about. I often feel like I don’t deserve the happiness and love in my life. I had been working on this for the past year, so when I read the label during my session it was no surprise. This label I changed to ‘DESERVING’.

The third label I read was ‘GUILTY’. This is the second one I already knew about. In the past, I’ve felt guilty about everything. My husband gives me a hard time because I apologize all the time. Sometimes it got so bad I would apologize and he would say, “For what?”. Often, I would not have a good answer. I took that label and replaced it with ‘FREE’. My thinking was that in affirmation writing, you don’t want to write the negative word within your affirmation.

The last label I was able to change was a triple-threat. Three words were attached to the same ‘bottle’. The three were ‘FAT’, ‘SICK’ and ‘UNHEALTHY’. I had been trying to detox, get healthy, lose weight and all while carrying these labels internally. Talking about pushing a boulder up a hill! I changed that one to ‘HEALTHY’.

Now that I have my labels changed, I am ready to start a new journey. I have also retained help from a personal trainer named Andrea Portillo of Visualize Fitness. Andrea specializes in dealing with people who have injuries or physical issues that make it difficult for them to get fit on their own. I have been avoiding the gym lately because a big part of me is terrified hurting myself. With Andrea’s help I am going to rebuild my strength and regain my fitness. Wish me luck!

What labels do you have that you should change? What would you replace them with?

my new labels!

my new labels!

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Wheat is totally inGRAINed in my life

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup (Photo credit: Kevin H.)

Imagine if you were from an Asian cultural background and you had to remove rice from your diet. Sounds nearly impossible, right? That’s what I’m feeling right now. I had been doing very well removing wheat from my diet until I got sick last Friday night. I’ve been battling a combination of bronchial and sinus infections ever since. I have noticed that since I’ve adopted a more hydrated attitude, I do get sick less often and when I do, it is over more quickly. Thank the detox for that! However, when I’m not feeling well, I really notice how I waiver back on to wheat.

On Saturday, I didn’t feel hungry at all. I was coughing, sneezing, boucing from warm to cold and food was the last thing on my mind. Until my husband asked me what I wanted to eat for dinner. The only thing I could think of stomaching was Lipton chicken noodle soup and some saltine crackers. Once I started to eat, I felt so comforted I was able to carry on a conversation with my husband’s best friend and even watch a little tv with them. Before that, I had been lying in bed, hoping to pass out.

Our comfort foods are usually chicken noodle soup when you’re sick and saltine crackers when you are nauseous. When we’re depressed, we turn to cakes and cookies. Hard to avoid wheat in all these things. My ‘detoxed’ brain was saying that I should be drinking some nice, fresh juices to load myself up with nutrients and fight off this sickness. I still think, ‘Why didn’t I do that?’ But even the thought of having them instead of my soup made me queasy. Wheat is so ingrained in our lives, it is hard not to fall back on old habits, especially when in crisis.

I’m not going to beat myself up over this. The little germies that waged war on me all week have done a good enough job already. Craving something comforting when you feel vulnerable to the extreme is only natural. It just made me stop and wonder about how heavily wheat has factored in my life. How emotionally attached I am too it on some levels. It is like the culinary equivalent of a hug from your mother when you aren’t feeling well.

What did your mom give you when you were a kid with a cold?

I wonder what mothers feed their sick children in Asian countries…maybe I should try somma that!

Tanning beds, vitamin D and Quebec

English: Woman uses a tanning bed.

English: Woman uses a tanning bed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About a year ago, I was driving in Montreal and I heard an ad on the radio. It was someone from a tanning salon, enumerating the virtues of using a tanning bed. They said something to the effect of, “Look great! Feel great! Help up your vitamin D during the winter months!” I couldn’t believe it! They were actually touting the ‘health’ benefits of using tanning beds.

The reason that I bring this up today is because I heard on the radio this morning that Quebec has legislated an age limit on the use of tanning beds within the province. I think that is fantastic. If I were less informed about the risks of using tanning beds in regards to cancer risks, I would have thought it was a great idea to get some extra vitamin D. While there is evidence that specific types of tanning beds can help us Canadians up our vitamin D levels, it is my opinion that the risks far outweigh the benefits. If you do decide to use tanning beds to get some vitamin D, make sure you do your research.

Make sure the tanning salon bed puts out UVB. That’s done with medium-pressure lamps. High-pressure lamps only put out UVA, which will not make any vitamin D. With UVB rays, you won’t get a burn, you won’t even get much of a tan, but you’ll get lots of vitamin D.” – Dr. Holick, (cbc.ca)

Considering that the tanning salon that was advertising on the radio was also talking about the wonderous glow you would have after the sessions, I doubt they were using UVB rays in their beds. It’s a tough time to be a consumer out there, reading between the lines when the lines are so skewed.

Quebec is putting a ban on use of the beds for anyone under the age of eighteen. This follows suit with many other provinces and countries who have already initiated similar age bans. Ontario (yay us!) and British Columbia are planning to do so as well. Studies have shown that the risk of getting skin cancer is significantly increased when people below the age of 25 use tanning beds, so we may be able to decrease the risks in many teens.

“…people who used tanning beds were 67% more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 29% more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma than people who never used them. This risk was highest among people who started to tan before their 25th birthday.” (Webmd.com)

The good ole Nova Scotians are doing even better, their age ban starts at 19 years of age. Unfortunately, there is still the fact that most people have no idea that tanning beds can be bad for them, so many people will flock to the salons as soon as they are of age.

It is unfortunate for us Canadians, and many residents in the United States, that we suffer from a big loss of vitamin D in the winter time. Some people might think that going outside in the winter time with their faces exposed will help them produce some vitamin D. The amount of D your face produces is minute and a recent study shows that even if you were completely uncovered, it wouldn’t matter.

Above Atlanta Georgia [in latitude], you can’t make vitamin D in your skin in the winter time. We did a study involving Edmonton residents. For six months of the year, they were unable to make vitamin D in their skin. Stand naked outside from the time the sun rises until it sets, freeze every appendage on your body and you will not make vitamin D.” – Dr. Holick, (Cbc.ca)

Thank goodness we’ve disproved another health reason for winter nudists! Hee hee. My vitamin d source of choice is just to use a good supplement. For more information about how much you should be taking in oral form, see my Vitamin D blog entry.

Do you use tanning beds? Have you ever asked about UVA versus UVB bulbs on one of your visits?

Expensive knowledge, vegetarians and heart disease

Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism (Photo credit: Marius!!)

I’ve been doing more reading than writing lately, life has been all over the map. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Now that my detox is over, I admit, I’ve lost some momentum. Forgive me?

I was reading an article summarizing some findings of a study done in the UK about the health of vegetarians versus meat eaters. If you’re interested, the article is located at theatlantic.com , if you’d like to take a look. Basically it tells us that vegetarians have a lower risk of many health issues.

RESULTS: The self-proclaimed vegetarians had a 32 percent reduced risk of both fatal and non-fatal heart disease, accompanied by lower blood pressures and cholesterol levels, as compared to non-vegetarians. They consumed, on average, more cheese, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and less milk. ” – theatlantic.com

I tried to gain access to the study itself because I had a nagging question, however the journal in which it was published wanted me to pay $40 USD for temporary access. As much as I want to inform myself and all my readers…$40 USD? Ya, I don’t think so.

My question was this, did the authors of the study take into account that part of this correlation may simply be due to the fact that vegetarians tend to be more conscious of their health overall? Think about it. The vegetarians that I know, most of them anyway, are much more concerned with having a balanced diet. They actually need to make sure they are getting the proteins that they require for their bodies to survive. It’s not like McDonald’s is serving lentils with fries, so if they eat fast food, they’ve often lost the opportunity to feed their need for non-meat proteins.

I completely agree that for the most part, especially in North America, we eat a LOT more meat than we need to. Absolutely. I’m sure the UK also has their fair share of over indulgent carnivores.  However, I wonder if they re-did the study with more attention to the type of meat eaters they selected and the type vegetarians they selected, if they would find the same results. For example, what if they screened participants to find meat eaters that ate lots of vegetables and had similar physical activity habits to the vegetarians. Wouldn’t that be more informative? Their group participation size is impressive, certainly, but often I find the quality of study participants more impressive than the quantity.

Just a little food for thought.

Having said all this, I do believe that a diet rich in vegetables and non-animal protein is very healthy. Vegetarian or not, you can reduce your risks of many ailments by upping these enzyme-rich parts of your diet. If you choose your meat from places that don’t use antibiotics or hormones and you don’t overdo it, it’s my opinion that the health disparity shown in this study would shrink dramatically.

No more wheat for me!

I am a big believer in the view that everything happens for a reason. I think there was a reason that my friend brought the book “Wheat Belly” to my attention. A reason as to why I appeared on Rogers Daytime Ottawa the same day as Dr. Beauchamp, who was promoting the Ottawa Health and Wellness Show and her key note speaker, Dr. William Davis. Why the couple I had booked for a wedding meeting the same day as the show canceled and why I was reminded of the show a few hours later via radio announcement. It was all to get me to the presentation by Dr. Davis on his book, “Wheat Belly” and the innumerable reasons why we should not be eating wheat.

Now that my initial year of the detox has come to an end, I was looking for something else to continue my journey. I am happy that I was able to commit to the challenges that I put into place for myself. I am also happy with the changes I feel in my body. I am a little disappointed, however, in the lack of weight loss I was expecting. Although my exercise track record hasn’t been stellar, I still get moving almost every day. Except for the month I went without sugar, it still crops up in my diet occasionally, but no where near the amounts consumed on average by people who are obese. So, why am I still considered obese according to the BMI? Something felt incomplete about my detox…

Myself and Dr. Davis, author of "Wheat Belly"

Myself and Dr. Davis, author of “Wheat Belly”

After having seen Dr. Davis speak, I have a feeling it may be due to my wheat intake and blood sugar levels. Even when I was working out 6 days a week and at my healthiest weight, I still had a little belly. I barely ever had sugar, junk foods of any kind, and still I couldn’t lose that extra bit of pudge around my middle. I did eliminate refined grains in my anti-inflammation month, but I did not read every label to make sure there was no wheat in everything I consumed. Perhaps that was my mistake?

I won’t get in to all the research about wheat and what it does in this particular blog. I would like to finish Dr. Davis book and have a better grasp on the knowledge before I start to share it with the world, via Internet. Sufficed to say that I am going to go wheat free and see where that takes me as far as all this built up fat stores. As I’ve previously mentioned, belly fat is NOT GOOD. I truly believe that I was able to release a lot of toxins with my Year of the Detox and form some better habits, but I need to focus more on my unhealthy weight now. The journey starts tomorrow.

Have you ever gone wheat free or are you currently wheat free? What differences did you notice?

12 steps towards a healthier 2013

Sunrise on Phu Chi Fa

The sun is rising on a New Year!

Wow!  A whole year of detox, completed! I couldn’t even fathom this moment when I started last year. Twelve months seemed like an eternity, yet here we are. I will be updating the blog with the quantitative measures of my success once I get results back from my doctor. However, as we head in to 2013, I wanted to share what I believe to be the top 12 steps you can take in bettering yourself and your health this coming year. Now that all the Christmas cookies have been eaten and you’ve had your fill of libations for awhile, let’s get back on track. Twelve months of detox has taught me many things, but here are what I feel are the twelve most important things, in no particular order.

1. Drink more water

Sure, sure. Everyone always says to me, I drink so much water. I thought I did, too. Until I kept better track of it and found out I was embellishing a tiny bit. Apart from the air we breathe, there is nothing more important to our survival than water. The more, the better! Most of us are walking around dehydrated like crazy! Dehydration can cause some scary things…trust me. If you make only one change in your life this year, let drinking more water be it.

2. Move your body

I am, by nature, a very sedentary person. I find no issues sitting and watching movies all day. After making movement more important in my life, I found it became something I craved. I no longer wanted to sit all day. Even now when I have a ‘veg’ day, I get up and stretch every hour or so. Your body was made to move, especially since you need movement for your lymphatic system to function. Even if it’s walking to the corner store a few times a week, or some yoga for ten minutes in the morning. Every little bit helps!

3. Eat more raw food

I find this especially hard to do in a Canadian winter. My body wants foods that will warm me from the inside out. Now that I’ve incorporated more raw foods into my diet as a whole, I really feel a difference when I go more than a day or two without having any. Your body needs enzymes that are found mostly in raw foods because it can only produce some of them itself. Do yourself a favour and have a salad before your hearty beef stew, even if it’s a cold night.

4. Find out what your vitamin/mineral deficiencies are and take supplements

The reason I don’t blanket statement this suggestion by telling you to take a multivitamin is because, depending on your personal factors, you may only be lacking a few things from your diet. Go, see your doctor and ask them to run some blood tests to see where you are low in or high in for that matter. Once you have a clearer picture of your health, then you can start taking the right supplements. You may be suffering from a deficiency that you aren’t even aware of. Catch it now and turn your health around!

5. Learn the different names for ‘sugar’ and read those labels

Sounds so simple, so hard to do! As I discovered during my detox, sugar is lurking in many different places under many different names. If you learn them and check your labels, you have won half the battle. The other half is your will power and only you can choose victory. Educate yourself about the products you are buying and you will be a smarter, healthier consumer!

6. Buy organic…REAL organic

Yes, it is more expensive but it is so worth it. This past summer, we bought organic berries and the taste alone was worth the extra bit of money. Just watch out for ‘greenwashing’. As buying organic becomes more and more popular, companies are finding ways to dupe consumers into spending more money on products that appear more natural. Using the colour green or having the word ‘organic’ in the name are just some of the ways that shoppers are being tricked. Check the labels, find out if they are truly living up to their image.

7. Clean with vinegar

Yes, there are hundreds of different cleaners out there. Many make claims of being environmentally friendly, but I have yet to find a single product as environmentally friendly and versatile as good, ol’ vinegar. Not only that, but it is incredibly cheap as well! Save your cleaning product money and buy more organic foods!

8. Chew your food MORE

Yes, we all chew our food to some degree but many of us hoover down our meals without enough breakdown. Your mouth is a vital part of your digestive process. Give your saliva time to help with the breakdown and your whole gastrointestinal tract will thank you for it!

9. Take an omega supplement

I know I said to get tested for what supplements you are lacking in before setting up your vitamin regime, but this is one of the ‘gimmies’. Omegas are powerful anti-inflammatory supplements and rather than tell you all the foods you should be avoiding in order to cut down your inflammation, I would rather you add this to your regime. Especially if you don’t eat a lot of fish!

10. Stay away from products with added ‘fragrance’ or ‘perfumes’

I could write hundreds of tips for what to avoid when putting things on your body, but if I tell you just one, stay away from scented products. Unless the label clearly states that they’ve used no added fragrance or only fragrances from essential oils, there could be many different chemicals lurking under that name.

11. Try juicing

Juicing isn’t for everyone and it is hard to do in the colder months, but there is no better way to get those nutrients in such a bio-available format. If juicing seems like a huge effort, at least try to buy your juices from the refrigerated section of the store. They are less likely to have added sugars and preservatives. Also, the enzyme content will be higher.

12. Write affirmations

Affirmations are a great way to attract the things you want into your life. Whether it’s a state of being or a physical thing, affirmations are a very effective way to reach those goals.

As you head into a new year, turn over to a new chapter in your life. One in which you are healthy and happy. Not only will you be benefiting yourself, but all those around you.

Do you have any suggestions for 2013 that will help people better there lives? Have you tried them? Are you planning on trying them this year?

Happy New Year everyone!

Month 12: Emotional and stress detox

This month marks the last month of my Year of the Detox! Wow, I can hardly believe that the year is almost over and that I made it through all the challenges I set for myself. December may be the last month of the detox, but it is the first month that I am focusing on my emotional state, rather than my physical one. The holiday season can be especially stressful, so it is really worth it to take time out and focus a bit on yourself. It may be the season of giving, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself something, right?

The rules for this month are:

1. In bed by 9 p.m., lights out by 10 p.m.

I know, 9 p.m. seems really early and I have already started to have a bit of issues with this one, but I’m going to keep trying.

2. Every night, I will journal five things that I am grateful for.

This will help me focus on the best parts of my day and hopefully remove the negative thoughts of anything that irked me.

3. Write affirmations every night

Affirmations are statements of what we want from life and what we want to be, but written in the current tense. So instead of writing down, “I want to be healthy and weigh XXXlbs.” I write something like, “I AM healthy and I love my lean, toned, XXXlb. body. Everything contributes to this perfect result.”

4. Spend at least twenty minutes doing some form of meditation before bed.

Whether it be straight meditation, chanting or something else, I will devote time to doing that each evening. Meditation has a calming and relaxing effect, so I plan to benefit from this as much as I can.

Obviously, with the holiday season being here, I may not be able to commit to the 9 pm curfew every night, but if I can do it for 90% of the month, I’ll consider it a definite victory.

What nighttime rituals do you have to keep yourself stress detoxed?

Lessons in juicing

So, this is the last week of my liquid life detox month. What a long haul. I admit, I haven’t always been able to do the liquid dinners. I found myself to be hungry as winter settled in, more than what my soup could do to fill me up. I have been pretty good with the juiced mornings though. I really like having the juice in the a.m. for breakfast. I find I need a light snack or an early lunch however, or my stomach starts its daily protest. Maybe November in Canada was not the best month to do a liquid diet…but I hope that won’t deter anyone from trying. You may really enjoy it once you’ve tried it. It is certainly a great way to get your nutrients and energy. Also, having juice first thing after your cup of water is another great way to get more hydration in your day!

Here are some tips of lessons I’ve learned this month:

1. Make sure your fruits or veggies aren’t too ripe.

English: Cucumber, celery & apple juice

English: Cucumber, celery & apple juice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I found the juices to taste off whenever I used produce that was too ripe. So much so that I couldn’t even stomach the drink. I may be sensitive, but I definitely recommend using your produce within a few days of purchase.

2. Cut your juices with water.

That much sugar that early in the morning can shoot your blood sugar levels up without any fiber to slow that process down. Better to cut the juices with water so there is less sugar. The water also helps to hydrate you even more. It also helps break up some of that acidity if your juices are fruit heavy.

3. Clean your juicer ASAP.

As soon as you are done, rinse and wash that juicer. This point has several reason for being. If you don’t clean it right away, you might forget and your juicer will be all clogged the next morning when you go to use it. Also, the little bits of pulp and skin can get caked on really easily if they are allowed to dry. Then your cleaning time will be doubled!

4. Drink slowly.

If you drink your juice too fast, you might have an upset stomach. Take your time and enjoy the flavours!

5. Brush your teeth afterwards.

Most of my juices had fruit in them, and often included a beet. Fruit is very acidic and beets tend to stain the enamel. Better to brush right after and prevent any staining or damage to your teeth.

From me to you, these are the best tips I have if you want to wander into the world of juicing. If you are an avid juicer yourself, please feel free to add some more tips in the comment section. Maybe I can learn something from you!

Top 5 reasons to juice

Mural painting showing Galen and Hippocrates. ...

Mural painting showing Galen and Hippocrates. 12th century; Anagni, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unless you have major blood sugar issues, juicing could be something that will help you get your body the nutrients and energy it needs! Juicing has been around for centuries dating back to ancient times in India, Rome and Greece. Ayurvedic medicine has long promoted the benefits of juicing. Actually, it describes the body’s best health to be when all of its juices are flowing properly and abundantly.  In ancient Greece, Hippocrates was known for being a proponent of using diet to heal. Among his favoured ‘prescriptions’ was different types of juices. He was known for teaching that it was better to be full of drink than full of food. I wonder if he includes vodka in that thought? Hmm…probably not. Influenced by his predecessors, Galen of Ancient Rome also studied and proposed juices for maintaining health and treating health issues. In fact, though he couldn’t know why at the time, but he suggested that cooking juices made them lose some of their beneficial properties. This was hundreds of year before we would discover enzymes! So, if you thought juicing was a fad, now you know the facts. Juicing has been around for a very long time.

So, why juice?

1. Enzymes

If you follow my blog, you know how important I think enzymes are. They are the little workers that keep our bodies going, helping in every little function we need our bodies to do for us on a daily basis. Without enzymes, it doesn’t matter what else you are eating or drinking. They have to be there to break down all your nutrients so they can get where they need to go. You can see why this is reason number one. Most enzymes can only thrive in a ‘raw’ or ‘uncooked’ piece of food. Our bodies produce some of them, but we need to ingest many of them as well. Our bodily enzymes are not infinite, so maintaining a healthy diet, ripe with enzymes is very important.

2. Vitamins and minerals

We’ve all been told over and over throughout our lives that vitamins are important. Minerals, too. Honestly, they really are! If you are lacking in any of the vitamins or minerals your body needs, your bodily functions can become highly impaired. Unlike enzymes, our body cannot produce the vitamins or minerals we need and we have to get them from food. (Apart from vitamin D, which we can get a bit of from the sun). With most North Americans, and now nations becoming ‘Americanized’, the standard American diet is eaten by a large part of the world’s population. The aptly acronym holding ‘SAD’ diet is devoid of many vitamins and minerals.

3. Quality over quantity

Combine our ‘SAD’ way of eating with the fact that our agricultural system is producing food that is less  ‘organic’, it would be nearly impossible to get everything you need, every day. The nutrient load of the foods we eat are getting lighter and lighter. Sure, many of us supplement in pill form, but a quart of vegetable juice can give you the nutrients that you would otherwise need to eat five pounds of solid vegetables to get! Crickey! I know a quart may seem like a lot, but over the course of a day, it’s not that bad.

4. Chlorophyll

I’ve already written about the amazing benefits of chlorophyll, but a lot of people may have trouble drinking the supplement version of it. Vegetable juice is a great way to get a dose of chlorophyll. With a molecule so close in structure to human hemoglobin, it has amazing detox effects!

5. Essential Amino Acids

There are eight amino acids we consider ‘essential’ because our bodies need them to function and yet we are not able to produce them ourselves. That means we absolutely need to get them from our diet. Like enzymes, vitamins and minerals, without enough amino acids, our bodies would develop serious health issues.

Sure, there are many more reasons why juicing is good for your health and why more of us should be doing it. I will be covering some of them in the next few posts, but for now why don’t you mull over these ones. They pack a pretty powerful punch. Do any of these reasons make you want to try juicing? Why or why not?

The trials and tribulations of edible shampoo

English: Potato flour. Français : Farine de po...

English: Potato flour. Français : Farine de pomme de terre. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you know, I’ve committed to only use products that are edible to cleanse my body, with the exception of good ole fashion soap. My first attempt at a shampoo was an utter failure. I tried to make a potato shampoo from a recipe in “Natural Beauty for All Seasons” by Cox. I bought this book from a book club when I was fourteen. For some reason I thought being in a book club would be cool, it just ended up being expensive. At least it was for fourteen year old Jenn. Over the years I’ve tried a few recipes from it, my fave being chocolate lip gloss. I made some for my husband’s family the first Christmas I spent with them. Apparently, the boys thought the lip gloss was delicious. Unfortunately, them licking it off resulted in chapped lips worse than when they started! But I digress…

The potato shampoo was basically made with potato flour and apple cider vinegar. It took over an hour to make and looked like lard in a jar. Not uber appetizing, but still technically edible. Needless to say, it didn’t work too well and smelled even worse. Also, it grew a healthy dose of mold within days of its making. I don’t want to have to remember to take my shampoo out of the fridge every time I hop into the shower. If my towel wasn’t hung right next to the shower curtain, I’d be wandering around my house dripping and naked on a daily basis. Not that my husband would complain, but it’s getting chilly out people! The same day I made my potato shampoo, I ventured into facial cleansers. From the same book I found a recipe for a lettuce facial cleanser. It was easy to make, apart from the fact that I couldn’t find one of the ingredients at any store in my end of Ottawa. Tincture of benzoin. I’m sure it would have made it better, although, it did work gently for the first few days. Now my laziness has fully taken over and I’m just using soap. I know there are women out there who swear by just using soap, but I am not one of them. I really find that it dries my face out and actually leaves me with more acne. So, basically I’m still looking for a facial cleansing solution for dry skin…any suggestions? My favourite recipe from the book involves lilacs. Sadly, those are out of season.

Right now, from a reader’s suggestion (thanks towardshealthylife !), I am ‘washing’ my hair with baking soda. I use the term washing loosely. It may just be my lifetime dependence on bottle shampoos talking here, but it just doesn’t feel as clean. However, if you are looking for safe to use and chemical free hair wash, this is the way to go. Comes right out of the box, ready to use. I then rinse with water and then rinse my hair with apple cider vinegar. Yet another attack on the sense of smell as it does not smell good. It is bearable, but only just. It also takes an hour or two to dissipate. If you were planning on going out on a date or to a fancy function, this is not the best way to end your hair care routine.

If I’m going to blow dry my hair, I put a little dab of Moroccan argon oil. It has a bit of a musky smell but works wonders on the hair. You may have heard of Moroccan oil before. It is being marketed heavily right now. Don’t be fooled, it is not the same thing. The “Moroccan Oil” that they have in stores right now is chalked full of yucky chemicals. They’ve done a great job of making it seem like it is a traditional, Moroccan secret come to light in North America, but it totally isn’t. All in all, a very simplistic routine for my hair.

Have you come across some great, all natural recipes you’d like to share? Something easy and gentle on the nose? I’d love to hear your favourites!