DIY hair

Often being low on funds I end up doing my hair at home, be it fancy styles, dye or sometimes cutting my hair. Sometimes I can use a half box of dye to touch up my hair, so it’s kind of a no brainer! Doing your full head by yourself is pretty easy, and you can get premium salon dye for amazing prices on eBay.

One thing I often do is bleach my hair at home using peroxide and baking soda. It’s a little messy but the savings are insane! Besides that, I’ve used bleach packets and this process seems less harsh and works out the same. I will base it with blonde dye that you can usually pick up for $3 at Dollerama, they often have L’Oreal or something like that these days.

Eventually, I’d like to start using safer hair dyes like henna or Herbatint. I have heard good and bad about both, but I will trial eventually and let you all know! I have read that Herbatint does not cause itchy scalp like commercial hair dyes. On the plus side, neither does this recipe!

I have also seen many other kinds of DIY natural dyes such as these recipes from Wellness Mama and some other more er, questionable ideas such as period blood LOL! Here are a couple other useful links to check out

Optional pre-treatment: Use something like coconut oil all over hair to protect it from dying out as bleaching can be very damaging to your hair. Most people recommend letting it sit overnight, but I mixed my bleach before I thought to do that so I just slathered it in my hair and let it sit for 20 minutes, I am sure it will still be great!

DIY Bleach

1 small bowl

Mixing tool

Peroxide

Baking Soda

Shampoo

Gloves

Optional: Conditioner and Blonde Shampoo (You can get a large bottle at Walmart for about $8 and it has lasted me quite some time, I use whenever I need to even out my hair for dying it)

-Pour about 5 tbsp of baking soda into the bowl, or more for longer hair (my hair is quite short)

-Cover the baking soda with peroxide and stir up very well

-Add shampoo and conditioner and stir again

-Carefully slather over hair and allow to set for 1-2 hours, or let it dry

-Using heat can also help the process, some guides say to blow dry a couple times, I just did it before I got into the shower

*Mixture will be gloopy and runny (if anyone has tips to thicken it up let me know in the comments!)

This does work quite well and you can see results after 5 minutes. The nice thing about this is a lot of people have these ingredients on hand so you can bleach your hair whenever the feeling strikes! Just pin it up and go do some dishes, read a book and then go have a shower!  (:

 

So I was able to go from dirty blondish hair to what is pictured here, success!

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Let’s talk about honey and marketing

Today I saw this article and it just infuriated me. Companies spend money pointlessly trying to prove a point that they are actually not making. I don’t think many people actually believed it, but it made me want to revisit the reasons I got so into honey. There must be a reason those little bees spend their days harvesting the stuff!

While no sugar is good for you in large amounts, it is agreeable that most natural substances trump any man-made re-creation and that if you eat too much of ANYTHING your diet will surely suffer. My biggest problem with most popular and cheap foods is all the processing and chemicals you are also getting in the product. Refining takes away almost all the nutrients that were once there have been stripped out. Even corn syrup has a natural form. Sugars do have their place in nutrition and variation is key. Sugar scrubs for the body are divine! Something people must note is that there is not one product you can really constantly consume and not have adverse effects. Most foods do have a dark side.

The reason people like me love honey is that it is versatile and has several benefits besides just being a natural and tasty alternative to sugars. I use honey on my body and I believe that honey truly does have anti-inflammatory properties. This is a substance that has been used in medicine for a very long time and while medicine has indeed advanced, it has advanced away from many of the sources we can find right from the earth.

Honey has many proven medical benefits and the comments you will see on those articles are often people sharing their good experiences with honey. In this article the benefits are discussed in a list, but who doesn’t remember the simplest ailment honey is used for? I have seen and been told many times that honey and lemon is good for colds and sore throats.

Besides that, if you are trying to get healthier you are probably starting to understand the warning signs of unhealthy foods and I can often taste the difference in quality. High fructose corn syrup is obnoxiously sweet and you have that chemical tinge. I would never want to use it in any breakfast foods, it would make me sick. Honey, on the other hand, has a light and pleasant taste. It is more subtle, and I have seen sites proclaim it is sweeter and that it is less sweet than sugar. I think it’s just different. For me, if I can afford to I’d always choose honey for my baking. The benefits of royal jelly and pollen are undeniable in my opinion and it is clear that honey has many other nutrients most sugars don’t have (see here for charts).

If you do a google search there will be far more results toting the benefits of honey and the ones that are not, usually focus on one point and do not consider most of the reasons people do love honey. Keep in mind that bigger companies can usually benefit more from preaching for unhealthy and unnatural products and news forums are certainly not unbiased. From experience, I can say that honey is awesome and I don’t believe for a second any unnatural products are as good or better than the real deal.

Other interesting reading: http://authoritynutrition.com/is-honey-bad-for-you-or-good/

http://www.medicaldaily.com/liquid-gold-7-health-benefits-honey-could-heal-your-whole-body-325932

Black Bean Chocolate Protein Smoothie

I’m still a bit achey from my wisdom teeth removal so I wanted my first meal to be a smoothie, and this smoothie really is a meal!

1 tsp moringa powder (or hemp)
1/2 tsp spirulina
1/2 tbsp chia seeds
Milk, almond milk, chocolate, etc. (enough to cover powder and as needed)
1/4 cup or more of black beans (I don’t taste them)
1/4-1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp peanut butter (at this point I bleneded it all up because my blender sucks)
1 banana (I used a frozen banana in pieces)
A little handful blueberries
2 tbsp cacao powder
2 tbsp Ovaltine
2 tsp honey to add sweetness

*For the rest of the liquid I used my chocolate cold-infused coffee instead of milk.

Deodorant Crystals- are they safe?

Have been wanting to try crystal deodorant but was concerned about aluminum. After researching, it seems like it is safe.

Eco-friendly baby/family products MADE in USA

02%20Naturally%20Fresh

I’ve had several questions recently about the deodorant crystals, sprays, roll-on’s. I think Naturally Fresh is the most well-known, and I used to use it myself before making my own as I felt it was a safe alternative to Tom’s, Nature’s Gate, etc. It’s readily available at Wal-Mart & other big box stores. BUT, is it safe? Many of the labels list “mineral salts” as a main ingredients. What are these mineral salts? As I’ve stated many times, I’m not a chemist, and always appreciate feedback from those of you who are. I’ve read many conflicting articles on this topic. I always advocate for erring on the side of caution, and since there is a shred of doubt in my mind about these, I can’t recommend them without concern. Here’s some of the issues regarding them, gathered from differing sources:

Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal Roll-on: “Aqua (Purified Water), Natural Mineral Salts…

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FREESTYLE RAW CHOCOLATE BROWNIE

I also can’t afford a food processor at this time so I think I will be trying a similar method to this! I still have some graham crumbs I think I’ll replace because I just want a treat.😉

The Forage

This is a no food processor recipe. I have been experimenting with raw foods since a while and always wanted to try some raw chocolate brownies.

I was meeting up with some people this week and thought that this would be a good reason to finally try making some raw, vegan sweets that also taste nice.

Drool! Drool!

Now, my process of cooking often works like this. I get an idea of what I want to make, check the internet to get a vague idea what goes into the recipe, then I get the ingredients and throw them together how it feels right.

I also don’t have a food processor and if you are really into the raw foods you probably need one, but I just have to improvise.
This cake isn’t 100% raw, coz I bought ground almonds and hazelnuts, which are already roasted. If you want truly raw nuts…

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Comforting and healing orange soup

I got my wisdom teeth out Monday and ambitiously thought I’d make this soup Sunday night and it would help me the first couple days of recovery. That would have been ideal, but I didn’t get to it til today haha. Regardless, this should help boost my energy and immune system and also tame my upset tummy. The amount I used made a large pot of soup so if you want less you can half it, but I plan to freeze some!

Note: Turmeric is really good for you but also stained a lot of my tools! I imagine it will eventually come off just keep this in mind for things like blender tops, mine gets stained real easy.

2 pounds of carrots (6-7 carrots of moderate size)
1 yellow pepper (I was also going to use a red one but it was rotten on the inside!)
2 regular sized Yukon gold (yellow?) potatoes
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tbsp to 2 fresh minced ginger (depending on how much ginger taste you can handle!)
2 cups of water
2 cups of chicken broth plus 1-2 cups more for blending and preference
1/2 tbsp to 1 tbsp hemp (or other) oil for onions and broth
3 large strips of orange zest
1/2 tsp-1 tsp each of chosen spices such as cayenne, paprika. I used pepper, some oregano, salt, chili, tabasco sauce, cumin, some oriander plus 1 tbsp or so of turmeric for healing.  
3/4 package of Kraft Cheddar spread (I added this because the spices are a bit intense for me, you can always omit this if you like)
2 tbsp cashew or desired milk

Slice up the veggies to a size your blender can handle and add them all but the onion and garlic to a large pot with all the spices. Simmer, covered for about 20 minutes (long enough so they are soft)

In a pan put the onion, garlic and oil plus some butter and sauté. Don’t let the onion get too brown or the garlic burn, stir frequently. Once done, add to large pot.

When all the veggies are done simmering start to blend the soup at small amounts (unless your blender can handle it). For my blender about 1/3 or so full with veggies completely immersed in liquid. Once at the bottom of the pot add chicken broth to the blender as needed.

Once everything is blended up into a smooth mixture put it back into the pot and add the cheddar and milk and any spices that may be missing for taste. Sour cream would also make a nice creamy soup.

Because of the nature of this soup I’d consume it cold or hot depending on preference! If on the first couple days of wisdom teeth removal cold would probably be best.

I got ideas from the following recipes:

Simple ginger carrot soup

Healing Soup with Chickpeas

Carrot and red pepper soup with sour cream

Refreshing Lime Green Smoothie

I bought some lime yogurt when it was on sale and thought it would pair well with green smoothies. It works well!

1/4 cup-1/2 cup lime yogurt
1/2 tbsp green tea
1/2 tsp spirulina
1 tsp moringa powder
pinch of spinach
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp coconut manna
1/2 tbsp flax
1 banana

For me this is a very refreshing and healthy drink! The three powders have complimentary tastes that blend in well with the lime. Bananas are a must in all my smoothies because I take probiotics and because of their health benefits!

I have recently come across Moringa powder and it really appealed to me. It’s supposed to be packed full of healthy goodies. It seems to be similar to the powerhouse of hemp powder.

Protein energy drink

I often like to start my day with some kind of blended drink. It is also useful days that I have put off eating and just feel nauseous because it wakes up my tummy with healthy and organic ingredients.

Today I did a quick blend with:

Half a banana
1/2 tsp spirulina
1/2-1 tbsp chia seeds
100 ml OJ
200 ml coconut milk (I just eyeballed it and thought too much oj would overpower)
I added small handful of frozen blueberries (maybe 10 or so)

This is a light drink that reminds me of the sensation of diffusing orange oil and peppermint. It gives my stomach the same kind of “wake up” sensation those scents give my nose, if that makes any sense. Orange juice and green tea would probably also be awesome, but I was feeling lazy. This is a nice twist on plain orange juice and spirulina which is how I usually take spirulina.

My two cents on flour storage

Since changing over my baking methods, it has taken me a while to find enough information to make up my mind on things. It can be hard to decide what information to trust but common sense can play a big role. For a while, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to afford gluten-free and non-refined flour baking because some places even said white flour has a maximum 6-month shelf life. Then I was worried that all my flours should have been stored in the fridge or freezer and had gone rancid. Some flours store best in the fridge or freezer, but many are shelf stable. Quinoa should be stored in the freezer if not used frequently, this is something I hadn’t thought of before as I assumed it stored similarly to rice. This link has a whole chart about storage, but the length of time is something I would consider more of a guideline. Nothing is guranteed because you have no idea how they were stored prior and you should check to see how fresh it is (how far away the expiry date is). As long as they are kept air-tight before use, you shouldn’t have to worry about prior storage.

On the Bob’s Red Mill blog, they seem to give a more realistic outlook of flour and grain life span. Another thing you should always consider is that before technology things like grains were stored out with no air-tight containers or possibly even cool storage. Now, wheat poisoning did happen but this was also before the invention of preservatives as we know them. I highly doubt any food has as short of storage as we are led to believe, it just wouldn’t make practical sense. We live in a throwaway culture, food companies would rather you waste more and buy more.

The best thing to do for most things is to just become familiar with the product. For flours, a good practice would be to smell, taste and observe the flour once you open it, then you have something to compare to when you are not sure if it’s safe. Flour weevils are also a sure sign something has gone bad. This article states that freezing for four days will kill weevils and apparently you can use flour like that. I think I’d rather just try to not get weevils in the first place!

Happy Herbivore explains that while many flours will stay just fine without freezing, if you are worried storage in the freezer extends the life to about a year. Unrefined grains have a shorter shelf life, this should be ovious at this point in the game. Whole wheat and rice flours are best stored cold as this slows the oils from going rancid.

You should always try to use your own common sense in these situations though, because that way you can teach yourself and KNOW without having to guess. Keep in mind climate and season because obviously humid weather will impact your food a lot more than cold frigid weather. Most things are just fine for at least a month, after that it all depends on how much you plan to use the item.